The State of Texas is known for many things, like BBQ and live music, that bring visitors to the state. But one federal district’s reputation is sending Apple and other large companies running away. The Eastern District of Texas has become the home of “patent trolls” — individuals or companies that buy up patents and then search for companies that may be infringing on them. These patent trolls and their favored venues have been a huge and costly nuisance not only to Apple, but companies like Microsoft, Skype, and Cisco.
Patent trolls believe that juries and courts in the Eastern District of Texas view their cases favorably and frequent the forum with questionable litigation. New legal standards, however, have made it possible for companies to avoid being sued in disfavored venues. Companies are leaving the Eastern District altogether. For example, Apple recently closed its retail stores and other business operations in the district to reduce, and possibly eliminate, the risk of being sued there. Having a physical location within the Eastern District would allow patent trolls to file suit there. By moving out of the Eastern District, Apple can assert more control over where patent lawsuits are filed against the company.
Apple’s decision to leave the Eastern District, while likely putting an end to the patent trolls’ questionable tactics, serves as a lesson for other businesses. Patent litigation is complex and the smallest details can be costly if not planned for in advance.
At Burford Perry LLP, our Texas patent attorneys understand the nuances and caveats of intellectual property litigation. We use our experience to help clients resolve patent lawsuits quickly and efficiently. Our attorneys understand that there is no one size fits all solution to intellectual property matters, so we work with you to achieve a resolution that works on a case-by-case basis. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated attorneys.