Why East Texas Judges Just Gave Patent Holders Incentives To Sue More Companies...

from the interpretations-on-transferring-cases... dept

Earlier this year, we noted that the judges in East Texas were actually transferring some patent lawsuits out of the court, following a ruling from a year ago at the appeals court level (CAFC) telling the district courts to move cases to where they were more "convenient." For a few months, however, various patent attorneys have been saying to keep watching, and that the folks in East Texas, who know they have a good thing going, will come up with ways to keep more cases in their favorite courthouse. And... that appears to be happening. In a few recent rulings in Marshall, Texas, Judge Ward has denied attempts to move the cases to more convenient locations, sometimes challenging the question of whether or not they really were more convenient -- but the reasoning doesn't pass the sniff test.

In a case brought by a patent holder named MHL Tek, who is based in Michigan, against something around a dozen auto manufacturers, Judge Ward denied the transfer, saying that with so many different parties, it made no sense to claim that Michigan (the requested transfer site) was somehow more convenient:
"With regard to defendants, four defendants reside in Germany, three in California, two in Japan, two in South Korea, two in New Jersey, one each in Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, and Virginia. The Court finds that this district would, in the least, be just as convenient or inconvenient to most of the defendants as the desired transferee District."
So... the plaintiff and at least one of the defendants is based in Michigan (and many of the others have offices there). None of the the parties are based in Texas. But because some of the defendants are based elsewhere, now it's suddenly ok to keep it in East Texas?

What's the likely end result? Any patent holder who wants to make sure a case remains in East Texas should make sure to sue many more companies who are distributed around the country (or the world), just to give judges in East Texas an excuse to keep the case there. That hardly seems to be living up to the spirit of what CAFC intended with its ruling...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Kent, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 5:15am

    Disgusting

    "Everything's bigger in Texas! (even the ppm of lead in our childrens' drinking water)"

     

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    Sean, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    So would it have made a different if most of the defendants motioned to have the case moved to Michigan.

     

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    Stuart, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 7:01am

    Dude...

    Really. Why aren't the people who live in East Texas standing up for their own dignity and running these bastard Judges out of town with the threat of stringing them up.

     

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      angry dude, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 7:42am

      Re: Dude...

      "bastard Judges" ???

      Be careful when insulting federal judges, punk

      Judges and juries are all we have left in this country, the other two branches of our government are f****** up competely and irreversibly

       

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    Frank, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    This is completely normal

    There is nothing unusual about this decision at all. The plaintiff has offices in Texas and several defendants have offices in Texas. What is so strange about the judge's ruling? It is perfectly consistent with federal jurisdiction law. IMHO, you should leave legal critiques to those that went to law school.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 1:33pm

      Re: This is completely normal

      And this is WHY the legal system is so fucked up. Do NOT leave legal critique to the so-called experts. This is OUR government, too.

       

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    Overcast, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    Someone needs to patent the concept of 'stupidity' - just imagine how many people you could sue....

     

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Mar 11th, 2009 @ 9:28am

    I say "End Patent NOW"!

    I'm with these guys.

    http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/549822/?sc=dwhn

    Let's pitch all this childish "Ooooh, That waaaas -Myyyyyyyyyyyyyy- idea first!" crap.

    Innovate, Instantiate, or get the hell out of the way.

    (Mike...Feel free to re-mix, re-use that one.)

     

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      identicon
      angry dude, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 10:12am

      Re: I say "End Patent NOW"!

      "Innovate, Instantiate...

      AND keep it a trade secret, you forgot to add..

      One of the primary purposes of the Patent system (other than providing incentives to innovate in the first place) is public disclosure of all patented inventions, so other people can learn from patents and do not need to reinvent the wheel

      But you didn't know this, punk, right ?

       

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        GeneralEmergency (profile), Mar 11th, 2009 @ 10:43am

        Re: Re: I say "End Patent NOW"!

        Ahhh...but I did know that.

        And do -you- know what the most amazing thing about secrets is?

        They are -virtually impossible- to keep.

        And tossing off blunt ended cliches like "reinvent the wheel" demonstrates that you're not really paying attention are you?

        Whole cloth invention is extremely rare anymore. The word 'invention' as it applies to patent these days is an overreaching joke. The vast majority of what is patented these days is simple innovation around the edges of what already exists, or worse, IP land grabbing of what evolution has built over millions of years, or the now discredited "Business Process" nonsense.

        And what's with the name calling? How old are you? 12?

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 10:43am

    sadly...people are getting sued for reinventing the wheel.

    As far as judges go...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/us/13judge.html?em

     

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    Roberto, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 10:50am

    Federal diversity jurisdiction

    Respect to Frank up in reply #4. Everything going on here is perfectly legal and normal according to centuries of basic civil procedural jurisprudence: corporations are considered legally present in any state where they have significant activity or presence. That's why I, as an Arizona resident, injured by a New York corporation while traveling through Ohio, could file suit in Arizona if the corporation had a significant presence there.

    It's a simple question of efficiency in the judicial system. Since plaintiff and some defendants have offices in East Texas, there's no reason to move the case halfway across the country, force the present attorneys to either find replacements or undergo hefty transportation and lodging expenses, make *another* judge go through all the tiresome initial paperwork, etc.

    As a postscript, angry dude, the main reason we have so many problems with the executive and legislative branches of government is *because* of the judiciary. :P

     

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      angry dude, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

      Re: Federal diversity jurisdiction

      "As a postscript, angry dude, the main reason we have so many problems with the executive and legislative branches of government is *because* of the judiciary."

      Huh ???????

      Chicken or egg ? Which is first ?

       

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    tijir (profile), Mar 11th, 2009 @ 12:38pm

    East Texas

    I am from East Texas, Tyler not Marshall, and you know the blanket statements about the area are getting old. From everything I have seen and read, these cases are only in Marshall. So have a care Mike, let's be a bit more specific than blanketing all of East Texas as a patent hoarders haven. Some of us here think the same thing you do about the patent system.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 7:10pm

      Re: East Texas

      Now that you mention it, it's not like Tyler doesn't have a history of corrupt justice itself. Go download the book Smith County Justice from Wikileaks.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    The stench of Marshall Texas is unbearable

    the stench coming from Marshall Texas is unbearable. Are the judges there in cahoots with the plaintiffs and getting kickbacks, or do they just like their 15 minutes in the spotlight?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 8:16pm

    Angry Dude,

    Where you been?
    Under a rock?

     

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    identicon
    Shawn, Mar 12th, 2009 @ 7:13am

    Texas

    It truly is the stupidest place on earth.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Shane, Mar 12th, 2009 @ 10:45am

      Re: Texas

      "It truly is the stupidest place on earth."

      You haven't been around the country much, have you? Try SoCal, you moron.

       

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    moelarry, Mar 12th, 2009 @ 8:16am

    miss the point

    as usual you miss the point. if the defendants are scattered all over the country or world no venue is more convenient for them than another.

     

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      Mike (profile), Mar 13th, 2009 @ 2:53am

      Re: miss the point

      as usual you miss the point. if the defendants are scattered all over the country or world no venue is more convenient for them than another.

      As the post pointed out (which you apparently missed), for those defendants, there may be no place more convenient, but considering TWO of the parties are in Michigan and NONE are in Texas, it seems quite clear that Michigan is more convenient for some, whereas Texas is inconvenient for all.

      Once again it's you who seems to miss the point. You might want to try stepping away from RJR's propaganda and taking a look at the real world.

       

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    identicon
    Sunlight, Apr 9th, 2009 @ 10:04pm

    East Texas jury pools

    Eastern Texas is the ideal place for witness tampering and stacked juries. That is why so many tort lawyers flock to the area and sue big business and 'win'- and why the public never really reads about it. It is a racket used to extort money by using local trial attorneys' friends and relatives selectively seated on the trial panel. They sue companies out of existence.

     

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