If You're An East Texas Company, Are You Now More Prone To Patent Infringement Lawsuits?

from the watch-out dept

Joe Mullin has an interesting story, questioning why PubPat -- a group that has fought against bad/questionable patents and bad patent policy -- appears to be working closely with a guy who fits the classic definition of a "patent troll" and who just sued Google, Yahoo, MySpace, PayPal, Amazon, Match.com, and AOL over a patent (5,893,120) for storing and retrieving data using a hashing technique.

However, what I actually thought was a lot more interesting is buried a bit down in the article. Beyond suing those seven big name internet companies, the lawsuit also included "the world's largest futures exchange, CME Group, and two software companies located in the Eastern District of Texas." Which two software companies? Softlayer Technologies and CitiWare Open Source Technologies -- both of which look like web hosting/data center type places with some additional services/software included. Heard of 'em? Probably not. Mullin speculates reasonably that the two companies may have been added as a strategy to fight off any attempt to change the venue outside of East Texas.

As you may have noticed, with courts getting a bit more leeway in moving such cases, a few have been moved out of East Texas -- especially when none of the parties involved are really based there. So, now, the patent holders who so love filing there are coming up with new strategies, including suing a whole bunch of different companies so they can argue that Texas is "centrally located" or equally as (in)convenient for everyone. Yet, you have to imagine that with a couple of companies located in East Texas, they'll be able to make an even stronger case against moving the case. So, if you're a tech company that's actually based anywhere in East Texas, you may now have a really big target on your back in patent lawsuits, effectively acting as an anchor to keep the case located there.

Filed Under: east texas, lawsuits, patents


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  1. icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), 13 Oct 2009 @ 7:22am

    East TX New Silicon Valley

    Mike Masnick,

    Didn’t you know that East Texas is rapidly becoming the hottest area of the country for innovative start up companies? Inventors are flocking there for comradely, culture reasonable real estate prices and country living.

    Meanwhile, Silicon Valley has become dominated by Piracy Coalition members who have strangled the area’s inventive spirit. It is not the place for start up companies. The decline will be long and painful.

    Eolas is a perfect example of what inventors do for society. It is a shame that they have to sue all these big companies. It doesn’t have to be this way, those companies could change their ways and start licensing rather than trying to steal.

    Perhaps both you and Joe Mullin can explain why the two of you constantly root for those who are stealing billions of dollars from America’s inventors. Mullin’s work looks suspiciously like that of Rick Frenkel which raises the question of rather or not Rick Frenkel continues to work in this area.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

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