Ecofactor sued ecobee in the District of Massachusetts in 2019, alleging ecobee infringed on Ecofaactor’s smart thermostat technology. That case was dismissed by Ecofactor in January 2022, while it was stayed pending the outcome of a parallel case before the ITC. That same day, Ecofactor refiled the suit in the Western District of Texas. Three days later, ecobee filed a declaratory judgment suit in Massachusetts, which Ecofactor moved to dismiss.
Judge Saris denied Ecofactor’s motion, noting that Ecofactor’s apparent forum shopping warranted the refusal to apply the first-to-file rule. She noted, however, that the first-to-file rule dictates which court should select the appropriate forum, meaning that the decision on which case should proceed would be left to the Western District of Texas to decide in ruling on ecobee’s motion in that court to transfer venue.
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