United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
O. Hickey, Chief United States District Judge
the Court is Defendants Ingevity Corporation; Ingevity
Arkansas, LLC; and Ingevity South Carolina, LLC's Motion
to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. (ECF No.
33). Plaintiff Green Source Holdings, LLC filed a response.
(ECF No. 38). Defendants filed a reply. (ECF No. 39). The
Court finds that the matter is ripe for consideration.
case involves allegations of patent infringement in violation
of the United States patent laws, as codified in Title 35 of
the United States Code. Plaintiff is a Texas-based research
and development company that develops environmentally
friendly methods of injecting natural chemicals into oil and
gas formations to increase their production, as well as
methods of putting these chemicals in pipelines to increase
the flowability of chemicals through the pipes. Relevant to
this case, Plaintiff owns nine certain patents, all of which
are generally directed toward methods of utilizing a family
of chemical compounds called “terpenes, ” derived
from natural materials like pine trees, to extract, liquefy,
and/or solubilize hydrocarbons such as coal, oil shale, tar
sands, crude oil, and heavy crude oil.
Ingevity Corporation (“Ingevity”) is a Delaware
corporation, headquartered in South Carolina, and is the
parent corporation of Defendants Ingevity Arkansas, LLC and
Ingevity South Carolina, LLC, both of which are Delaware
limited liability companies. Ingevity is a supplier of
specialty chemicals and high performance activated carbon
materials, whose products are used in a wide variety of
applications in various industries. Defendant Ingevity
Arkansas, LLC operates a plant in Crossett, Arkansas, that
manufactures certain chemical products. Ingevity company
internet servers are also housed at the Crossett plant.
amended complaint alleges that Defendants are infringing on
its nine patents by making and selling EnvaSolv, a
biodegradable solvent product that may be used in oilfield
formations for enhanced oil and gas recovery and to increase
flow ability by decreasing viscosity. Specifically, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants make, sell, and ship EnvaSolv at the
Crossett plant and that Defendants have sold EnvaSolv to
customers in Arkansas, including to the company Anchor USA,
which is allegedly located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
February 1, 2019, Defendants filed the instant motion,
contending that this case should be dismissed pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) for improper venue,
or alternatively, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. Plaintiff opposes the motion.
move for dismissal based on improper venue and for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The Court
will first address Defendants' Rule 12(b)(3) arguments
and, if necessary, the Court will then take up
Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) arguments.
argue that Plaintiff's allegations fail to establish that
venue is proper in the Western District of Arkansas and,
thus, the Court should dismiss this case. Plaintiff
disagrees, contending that its allegations establish proper
venue. Plaintiff alternatively argues that the Court should
permit the parties to conduct venue discovery and, failing
that, Plaintiff asks that the Court transfer this case to the
District of South Carolina. The Court will first address the
parties' arguments regarding whether venue is proper in
the Western District of Arkansas. If necessary, the Court
will then address Plaintiff's alternative arguments
regarding venue discovery and transferring this case to
another judicial district.
is “the place where the power to adjudicate is to be
exercised, the place where the suit may be or should be
heard.” Farmers Elevator Mut. Ins. Co. v. Carl J.
Austad & Sons, Inc., 343 F.2d 7, 11 (8th Cir. 1965).
“Venue requirements exist for the benefit of
defendants.” Richards v. Aramark Servs., Inc.,
108 F.3d 925, 928 (8th Cir. 1997). “One of the central
purposes of statutory venue is to ensure that a defendant is
not haled into a remote district, having no real relationship
to the dispute.” Id. (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted).
may move to dismiss an action that is not filed in the proper
venue. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3). When reviewing a motion to
dismiss for improper venue under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(3), courts apply the same standard used for
other motions to dismiss. Twin Lakes Sales, LLC v.
Hunter's Specialties, Inc., 2005 WL 1593361, at *1
(D. Minn. July 6, 2005); see also Kranos IP Corp. v.
Riddell, Inc., No. 2:17-CV-443-JRG, 2017 WL 3704762, at
*2 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 28, 2017) (conducting venue analysis in a
patent infringement case). In a patent context, when venue is
challenged, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating
that venue is proper in the chosen judicial district. In
re ZTE (USA) Inc., 890 F.3d 1008, 1013 (Fed. Cir. 2018).
“With respect to the well-pleaded facts in a
plaintiff's complaint, in the 12(b)(3) context, the
majority of circuit courts . . . accept these facts as true .
. . to the extent that such facts are uncontroverted by [the]
defendant's affidavit.” Kranos, WL
3704762, at *2. If a defendant submits affidavits or other
evidence contradicting specific venue allegations in a
plaintiff's complaint, the court is no longer required to