Asked to sum up venue/jurisdiction in the Patent Troll wars, many could do it in four letters: EDTX. The Eastern District of Texas has long been a hotbed of activity for patent troll suits because
it’s easy for Southerners to be bought off the judges are favorable to plaintiffs in these suits. The latests statistics that I’ve seen show almost a third of all suits brought in that venue. Quite the winning percentage!
However, tracking the lawsuits, as we are wont to do here, a small but noticeable trend is emerging. Delaware has less than 15% of the venue market right now, but the East Coast is picking up steam and I think that will continue. Firstly, for the obvious reason: lots of companies incorporate there. Secondly, the targets of lawsuits are starting to argue more strenuously that “Hey! Why are you suing me in Texas??” and asking the courts to move cases where they belong, which one would assume would be in the state of incorporation of either the plaintiff or the majority of the defendants. This is intellectual property we’re talking about here…it’s not as if you can bring suit in every single venue where infringement occurred. You’ve got to pick one; the state of incorporation of the patent-holder or alleged infringer is a logical choice. Third, check out the Delaware IP blog if it’s not already on your morning reading list as it is, of course, on mine. Without even a deep dive, there are several article on the front page with the words “Motion Denied“…looks like The Law doesn’t want these cases moving. Fourth, T. John Ward is retiring. Chief Justice Scalia called him a “renegade jurisdiction” because of his unwillingness to grant transfer of venue. Not unreasonable to assume there will be some changes to how things are run down south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Someone needs to start publishing statistics on venues and put up charts and graphs showing how those venues are starting to change. Mostly so that when I’m right, everyone will be able to see it in living color.