Coca-Cola Scores Venue Change in Patent Case

     MIAMI (CN) – The Coca-Cola Co. successfully argued for a change of venue for a pending patent infringement case because most of the allegations involve its Atlanta headquarters, not its tenuous connections to South Florida, a federal judge ruled.
     Leigh Rothschild, an inventor, owns the two patents on technology which allows consumers to mix customized beverages using a user interface.
     Rothschild contends that Coca-Cola’s “Freestyle,” a personalized beverage dispenser, infringes on her patents, which were created under the auspices of her company, Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations, LLC.
     Coca-Cola denies the claims, saying it “created the Freestyle dispenser in Atlanta on its own, between 2004 and 2009, and has not infringed Plaintiff’s patents,” according an order issued on Friday.
     Four-and-a-half months after the lawsuit was filed, Coca-Cola requested that it be transferred from Miami and to the Northern District of Georgia, which includes Atlanta, the beverage giant’s home.
     “[Coca-Cola has] only limited connections to Florida, whereas the witnesses; evidence; and alleged infringement are almost exclusively in and/or concerning Atlanta,” U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga wrote.
     “Plaintiff argues this case has strong connections to Florida, but rests its opposition mostly on the purported untimeliness of the Motion, and the argument its choice to litigate in its home forum ‘weighs heavily, deferentially and conclusively in favor of RCDI [Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations, LLC], who resides in Florida,'” Altonaga continued.
     “Defendant argues patent infringement cases brought somewhere other than a plaintiff’s home forum are often transferred to the site of the defendant’s center of management, development, testing, research, production, and marketing — where most of the operative facts likely are found.”
     Altonaga ruled in Coca-Cola’s favor “to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the litigants, witnesses, and the public, and to conserve time, energy, and money, she said.”
     John Carey, of Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya in Miami, represents the plaintiff. He told Courthouse News he would reach out to his client to see if she wanted to comment, but the publication has not heard from her.

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