Patent Loving East Texas Judge Clips Wings Of Largest Patent Troll
from the go-away-now dept
Earlier this year, we noted that patent trolls had struck back, filing a ton of new cases this year. The leading patent troll was a firm called eDekka:
However, in a surprise move, Judge Rodney Gilstrap, in the Eastern District of Texas, has just tossed out 168 lawsuits filed by eDekka, after noting that the ‘674 patent is not valid under Section 101 of the Patent Act. As recent Supreme Court rulings have made clear, you can’t just take a standard thing that people have done for ages, and “do it on a computer” to get a patent. And that’s the key problem that Judge Gilstrap notes in his ruling:
As summarized above, the claimed idea represents routine tasks that could be performed by a human. While the generic requirement of a ?data structure? is included, Claim 1 essentially describes the common process of receiving, labeling, and storing information, while Claim 3 encompasses retrieving such information.
And thus, the patent covers nothing more than an “abstract idea,” which are not patentable under Section 101.
But… that’s not all. In this one single order, Judge Gilstrap says that everyone else who has been sued under this patent shall be considered prevailing parties in their lawsuits and then issued a separate order allowing all of the defendants sued by eDekka to jointly file a brief asking for attorneys’ fees:
The Court ORDERS Defendants to file a consolidated brief of not to exceed fifteen (15) pages in support of any and all claims for reasonable attorney fees…
As Joe Mullin notes in his story on this (linked above), this is especially surprising from Judge Gilstrap:
Just the invite is a sign of changing times: in his four years on the bench, Gilstrap has never granted attorneys’ fees to a defendant.
Indeed, as we’ve pointed out just recently, Judge Gilstrap had become something of a patent troll favorite down in East Texas. Perhaps that’s changing…