VLSI Technology LLC originally filed the infringement suit in Waco before it was transferred to Austin. U.S. District Judge Alan Albright recently said he intends to move the case back to Waco for a Jan. 11 jury trial if the federal courthouse in Austin doesn’t reopen in time.
The Austin courthouse has been closed to jury trials because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Intel urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to reverse the decision, arguing Albright abused his discretion. Intel said trial should be held in Austin when the courthouse reopens.
“There is no reason to rush to trial when the public health crisis counsels against conducting a jury trial at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Intel wrote in a Tuesday petition.
VLSI’s lawsuit against Intel alleges infringement of data processing system patents. Albright sent the case to Austin, where Intel has a research and development facility, finding it more convenient to litigate the case there. Albright continued to oversee the case.
Intel argued Tuesday that Austin’s connection to the case was just as strong as it was when Albright ordered the transfer.
“If anything, the present circumstances favor Austin more now because COVID-19 infection rates are currently worse in Waco than Austin,” Intel wrote.
Separately, Intel asked Albright this week to delay the trial because of a surge in Covid-19 cases in McLennan County, which includes Waco.
The infection rate there is climbing, and is more than double the rate in the county where Austin is located, according to a declaration from Cristie Columbus, chief of the infectious diseases division at the Baylor University Medical Center in Waco, included with Intel’s district court filing.
Covid-19 “poses a significant potential risk to the health, safety, and life of participants in a trial starting January 11, 2021 in Waco or Austin, Texas, as well as to the communities in the Division where trial is held and communities in places where out-of-state participants will return after trial,” Columbus said in the declaration.
Intel is represented by WilmerHale.
The case is: In Re Intel Corp., Fed. Cir., No. 21-105, Petition filed 12/1/20