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Brandt Industries Ltd. v. Harvest International Corp.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 10, 2015

Brandt Industries Ltd., and Brandt Agricultural Products Ltd., Plaintiffs,
v.
Harvest International Corp., Defendant.

Ann G. Schoen, Esq., Frost Brown Todd LLC; and John B. Lunseth II, Esq., Briggs & Morgan, PA, counsel for Plaintiffs.

Christine Lebron-Dykeman, Esq., Jonathan L. Kennedy, Esq., R. Scott Johnson, Esq., McKee, Voorhees & Sease; and Cally R. Kjellberg-Nelson, Esq., and Dyan J. Ebert, Esq., Quinlivan & Hughes, PA, counsel for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DONOVAN W. FRANK, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Transfer Venue brought by Defendant Harvest International Corp. ("Harvest"). (Doc. No. 20.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motion.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Brandt Industries Ltd. is a Canadian corporation with its principal place of business in Regina, Saskatchewan. (Doc. No. 30 ("Eberle Decl.") ¶ 3.) Brandt Agricultural Products Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brandt Industries Ltd. and is engaged in the design and manufacture of grain handling equipment distributed throughout Canada, the United States, and around the world. (Id. ¶ 5.) Brandt Industries Ltd. and Brandt Agricultural Products Ltd. are collectively referred to as "Brandt." Brandt employs more than 1, 800 people across Canada and the United States. (Id. ¶ 4.) Harvest is an Iowa Corporation with a principal place of business in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Doc. No. 23 ("Friesen Decl.") ¶ 2.) Harvest is in the business of manufacturing and selling agricultural equipment. (Id. )

Brandt is the owner of United States Patent No. 8, 061, 511, entitled "Conveyor Belt Guide" (the "511 Patent"). (Doc. No. 1, Compl. ¶ 13.) Harvest manufactures and sells an FC Conveyor machine. (Friesen Decl. ¶ 3.) Brandt alleges that Harvest's manufacture and sale of the FC Conveyor machine infringes the '511 Patent. (Compl. ¶¶ 7, 45-49.) In addition, Brandt asserts claims for unfair competition and trade dress infringement. (Id. ¶¶ 50-58.)

Harvest now moves to transfer this action to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. (Doc. No. 20.)

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

"For the convenience of the parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). When deciding a motion to transfer pursuant to § 1404(a), the Court must consider three factors: "(1) [t]he convenience of the parties, (2) the convenience of the witnesses, and (3) the interests of justice." Terra Int'l, Inc. v. Miss. Chem. Corp., 119 F.3d 688, 691 (8th Cir. 1997). A determination on transfer requires a "case-by-case evaluation of the particular circumstances at hand and a consideration of all relevant factors." Id.

"[S]ection 1404(a) provides for transfer to a more convenient forum, not to a forum likely to prove equally convenient or inconvenient, and a transfer should not be granted if the effect is simply to shift the inconvenience to the party resisting the transfer." Graff v. Qwest Commc'ns Corp., 33 F.Supp.2d 1117, 1121 (D. Minn. 1999) (citing Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 646 (1964)). Thus, transfer should be denied if the factors weigh evenly or "only slightly in favor of transfer." Id. Typically, there is a presumption in favor of the plaintiff's choice of forum, and ...


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