The Supreme Court has recently been intrigued by a conspicuous practice in the domain of patent lawsuits. It seems that around 40% of this type of cases is held in an East Texas federal court. Moreover, the judicial office has a reputation for acting in a friendly manner as far as the plaintiffs are concerned. This subject came to light during a recent case that investigates the pernicious forum shopping among tech companies.
The New Case Seeks a Limitation of Courts that Can Receive Patent Lawsuits
Over the past years, a single judge that is active in the East Texas federal court has been taking care of almost a quarter of all U.S. patent lawsuits. This number encompasses the combined activity of judges in California, New York, and Florida.
It seems that the Texas federal court is the go to place whenever a tech company wants to apply a troll strategy. This curious initiative starts off by buying a set of patents. However, the buyer does not use them for their intended purposes. Instead, the company keeps these royalties to sue for damages for any identified infringement.
On Monday, a compendium of technology companies filed a lawsuit in an attempt to make the Supreme Court take a stand against this type of business practice. The TC Heartland vs. Kraft Foods Group Brands case opened a new legal measure against pernicious forum shopping. Thus, the plaintiffs demand an option limitation for defendants in patent cases to be sued.
Several Tech and Pharmaceutical Firms Want a Status Quo
On the other hand, other tech companies want a status quo. They support their request by stating that the current courts have extensive expertise in this particular domain. Thus, they are the best option when it comes to a certain type of lawsuits. Several pharmaceutical organizations are standing by this point. They want to be able to sue multiple parties that infringed their copyright within the same court.
The East Texas federal court started its reputation of patent owners friendly at the helm of District Court Judge T. John Ward. The judge worked on cases there between 1999 and 2011. However, before he left the position, he established several rules that made the court a popular forum for patent lawsuits. Nonetheless, the location hosts no major tech headquarters to explain such a high popularity. The Supreme Court has until June to decide this controversial subject.
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