Mass Law Blog

TomTom Unable to Preempt Suit In Texas By Seeking Declaratory Judgment in Massachusetts

by | Sep 11, 2012

As I’ve written before, getting sued for patent infringement in Texas (often the Eastern District, or “EdTX”) is generally viewed as undesirable by corporate America. Apparently seeking to avoid this unpleasantness, TomTom, Inc. filed a suit in Massachusetts, asking the court to declare that it did not infringe several patents held by Norman IP Holdings, Inc., over which Norman had already sued TomTom in EdTX. As its name suggets, and as best I can determine, Norman is a non-practicing entity that has been active in the courts of EdTX.

However, TomTom’s strategy of avoiding Texas appears to have failed. Massachusetts U.S. District Court Judge Saylor has upheld a decision by Magistrate Judge Judith Dein concluding that the Massachusetts court did not have jurisdiction over Norman, and therefore could not force Norman to confront it over these issues in Massachusetts. It appears that Texas is where TomTom will have to defend itself against Norman.

I will quote, not for the first or last time, the words of General Phillip Sheridan: “if I owned Texas and Hell, I’d rent out Texas and live in Hell.” Words that ring true for Texas patent defendants.

TomTom, Inc. v. Norman IP Holdings, LLC (D. Mass. September 4, 2012)