Silicon Valley Patent Lawyers Set Up A Dog Park In Eastern Texas To Keep Cases There
from the buying-the-bull dept
This has resulted in some games being played by lawyers who want to keep cases in Texas. The popular one is to set up a totally empty office in some of the office buildings that seem to specialize in this kind of thing. That was a nice part of the recent This American Life episode about patents, where reporters Alex Blumberg and Laura Sydell literally went to one such famous building in Marshall, Texas, and knocked on doors to see if anyone actually occupied the offices of "patent troll" companies. Another strategy has been to sue random companies in East Texas along with the real targets. The small East Texas companies are usually dropped from the lawsuit later, but the patent trolls argue that with so many different companies in so many different places, East Texas is as good as any place... especially since at least one infringing company is right there! Of course, one nice thing about the recent patent reform bill is that it likely ends these attempts to bogusly join together unrelated defendants.
Of course, some lawyers go above and beyond such simple tactics. A personal favorite, of course, was the fact that TiVo literally bought a prize-winning bull in Marshall, Texas. Some say it was to influence the jury, but we wonder if it didn't also help establish a "presence" in East Texas.
Along those lines, it's interesting to note that a Silicon Valley lawyer-turned-patent troll, named Kevin Zilka, who has a rather dubious history with filing lawsuits in East Texas, apparently has set up a dog park in East Texas. Once again, the assumption is that this is a rather cynical attempt by Zilka to establish a reason for keeping cases that jurisdiction. Zilka, after all, is the guy who once sued a company four blocks away from his own offices in San Jose... but still filed the case nearly 2,000 miles away in East Texas. I'm sure the dog park is quite nice, but it sure seems like a massively cynical attempt to establish a "presence" for the sake of keeping cases in East Texas.