Regardless of adjustments to the law, a Texas federal court has been a bridge for “patent trolls,” critics say | Allen American

Kandace Wysock

In his oral argument for eBay v. MercExchange (2006), the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia famously referred to as the district on which Collin and Denton Counties lie a “renegade jurisdiction.” This quip echoed sentiments shared by business people, tech moguls and attorneys, who have discovered the United States […]

In his oral argument for eBay v. MercExchange (2006), the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia famously referred to as the district on which Collin and Denton Counties lie a “renegade jurisdiction.”

This quip echoed sentiments shared by business people, tech moguls and attorneys, who have discovered the United States Department of Justice’s Jap District of Texas (EDTX) – whose Sherman Division incorporates Collin and Denton counties – as a hotbed for frivolous patent infringement litigation.

Patent holders who file this sort of lawsuits despite negligible use of them are pejoratively called “patent trolls,” and critics contend that they consciously litigate in the judicial district because of to the court’s perceived likelihood to deliver a swift and favorable judgment to plaintiffs in patent infringement proceedings.

Scientists and authorized analysts have observed that EDTX’s docket has found much less patent circumstances pursuing the Supreme Court’s 2017 final decision TC Heartland v. Kraft Foodstuff, a situation that produced selective use of a court docket (usually referred to as “forum shopping”) in patent infringement satisfies much more difficult, but the court continue to remains a single of the most prolific patent litigation venues in the federal judiciary.

So significantly in 2021, EDTX has viewed about 200 patent infringement lawsuits that stay open, and they include things like substantial-profile defendants these as AT&T, Cracker Barrel, Samsung, Standard Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Target, Lowes, Total Food items, Wal-Mart, Best Obtain, Chick-Fil-A and Netflix.

But possibly some of the most infamous patent litigations on EDTX dockets have been people submitted in opposition to Apple who, according to records from watchdog database MaxVal’s Patent Litigation Databank, was the defendant in 194 of the court’s infringement instances. In March by yourself, Apple was ordered by an EDTX jury to pay out $308.5 million in damages right after it discovered that the firm infringed on a media decryption patent. In August 2020, an additional jury in the district purchased Apple to pay back $506.2 million in royalties for a patent related to 4G technological know-how.

The prolific character of these situations has aroused speculation from a variety of sources that the tech large shut its Apple Retailer locations at Frisco’s Stonebriar Mall and Plano’s Shops at Willow Bend for the objective of exiting the court’s jurisdiction, therefore encountering much less patent infringement lawsuits. Apple has not determined the exact cause for the closure of these outlets, and a request for remark on the subject has not been returned.

Even so, activists and business people argue that patent trolling has a clearly subversive economic effects. In May perhaps 2020, electronic legal rights advocacy group Digital Frontier Foundation (EFF) rebuked, “Patent trolls don’t treatment much about innovation. Their lawsuits and threats are attempts at hire-seeking they’re demanding dollars from people who make, use or provide know-how just for doing what they ended up presently accomplishing — for crossing the proverbial ‘bridge’ that the patent troll has made the decision to lurk beneath.”

Just one of the most popular voices of patent reform has been Dallas Mavericks operator Mark Cuban, who donated $250,000 to EFF in 2012 to assist its anti-patent trolling advocacy. The billionaire entrepreneur’s stance on patent trolling acquired more publicity in 2013 when he and EFF employed an legal professional to assume the function of “The Mark Cuban Chair to Get rid of Silly Patents.”

Nevertheless, Cuban said he does not blame EDTX for its standing between “patent trolls.”

“I can only explain to you from the outside seeking in that it appears to be a excellent industry for EDTX,” Cuban stated in an electronic mail to Star Area Media. “It’s essentially clever on their portion. It’s not their fault that patent laws are absurd and in some cases not in [the] desire of the region.”

Joe Brown, a Sherman-primarily based lawyer who served as United States Lawyer for EDTX from 2018 to 2020, opined that the court does not really encourage or discourage the follow of discussion board purchasing in patent infringement conditions.

“They choose location fights centered on the information they are provided and the venue legislation as prepared,” he reported. “The judges in the EDTX are, from what I can inform, very pleased of the status they have for getting well-informed in the patent earth and successful in their administration of circumstances. But they enforce location provisions as they are created by Congress, and Congress has had a great deal of chance to make modifications over the many years and has not.”

A consultant from EDTX did not react to a ask for for remark.

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