Weis v. Kimsaprincess Inc., No. 17 C 5471, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill Oct. 30, 2017) (Dow, J.).
Judge Dow granted defendant’s 28 U.S.C. Section 1404(a) motion to transfer venue to the Central District of California in this Latham Act trademark infringement and unfair competition case involving Kim Kardashian West’s KKW Beauty line.
Of particular note, the Court held as follows:
- The parties agreed that venue was proper in either jurisdiction.
- Plaintiff’s choice of the N.D. Illinois was given little weight because plaintiff was not an Illinois resident and few material events occurred in Illinois.
- The fact that the accused products were designed in C.D. California weighed “heavily” in favor of transfer.
- The ease of access to proofs weighed slightly in favor of transfer. All records regarding KKW Beauty were in C.D. California. And plaintiff’s argument that consumer confusion existed in Illinois was irrelevant because any confusion existing in Illinois would likely exist equally in California.
- Witness convenience weighed heavily in favor of transfer. Defendant’s president Kim Kardashian, along with likely third party witnesses including her agent and Seed Beauty employees that helped create the accused products, all resided in C.D. California.
- Plaintiff identified its witnesses residing in Illinois, but no third party witnesses that would have weighed more heavily in the analysis.
- The convenience of the parties weighed in favor of transfer. Plaintiff claimed that it selected the N.D. Illinois because it was “equally convenient” to both parties. The Court, however, held that the N.D. Illinois was “equally inconvenient” to the parties. Moving the case to the C.D. California would remove defendant’s travel costs and would add at most marginal costs to plaintiff who was already traveling a considerable distance.
- The location of plaintiff’s counsel in Illinois was not a relevant consideration.
- The interests of justice were either neutral or weighed in favor of transfer. C.D. California cases get to trial twenty months faster than N.D. Illinois cases. And both districts were equally familiar with the relevant law.