In June of this year, SharkNinja brought a declaratory judgment action, seeking a declaration that its new Shark FlexStyle product did not infringe a Dyson patent covering combination hair dryer and hair styler products. Dyson had asserted these patents in a cease and desist letter about six months after the SharkNinja product was released. In August, SharkNinja amended its complaint to add claims that Dyson infringes several SharkNinja patents related to vacuum technology.
Judge Burroughs granted Dyson’s motion to sever these new claims. She noted (and SharkNinja conceded) that the hair care claims did not arise from the same transaction or occurrence as did the vacuum claims, and that the majority of witnesses and documentary evidence would not overlap. She further noted that the technologies did not appear to have enough in common that any benefit would be gained by trying the claims together.
Judge Burroughs denied Dyson’s motion to transfer the vacuum claims to the Northern District of Illinois. She indicated that a plaintiff’s choice of venue is entitled to deference, and even greater deference when (as here) that venue is the plaintiff’s home forum. She found that Dyson had failed to overcome this deference, and kept the claims in Massachusetts. Accordingly, she ordered that the clerk open a new case number for the vacuum claims.
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