by Mike Masnick
Tue, Oct 9th 2007 8:08am
A large part of the reason that the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals was established was that lawyers filing patent litigation suits were jurisdiction shopping, choosing district courts that were considered favorable for patent lawsuits. Of course, once the new court of appeals was set up, it just shifted the jurisdiction shopping one level lower -- and patent lawyers eventually settled on a favorite place: Marshall, Texas. Word spread quickly, as the court famously sided with patent holders at a much higher rate than any other court, and they also tended to speed through trials, so patent holders could get a fast decision. In some cases, those who were sued would settle rather than deal with an almost guaranteed loss in eastern Texas. While there have been some reports recently that (perhaps as a result of all the publicity), the folks in Marshall have started to get a bit more critical when it comes to patents, it appears that patent lawyers haven't quite figured this out yet. An anonymous attorney has started tracking where patent lawsuits are being filed and has discovered that Marshall far outranks the other courts -- especially when the case is being filed by a more questionable "patent licensing" firm. The report also notes that more patent lawsuits have been filed in Marshall this year than all of last year (during which more such lawsuits were filed than the previous two years combined). It still seems fairly ridiculous that companies that have absolutely no real presence in the region can bring their lawsuits in Marshall.
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