The Texas Lawbook recently reported that patent holders have flooded East Texas federal courts with an unprecedented number of new infringement lawsuits during the first six months of 2015. According to the publication, there were more lawsuits alleging patent violations filed in the Tyler-based federal courts during the second quarter of the year than in all the other federal courts across the country combined. Between April and June, 839 new patent infringement cases were filed in the Eastern District of Texas – a 53.6 percent increase from the 546 lawsuits filed during the first three months of 2015.
Intellectual property law experts cite patent holders’ fear that Congress will pass new laws limiting the locations where they can sue infringers. Many IP lawyers have stopped filing their cases in Delaware because of recently enacted court rules they view as negative.
Gardere IP Partner Terrell R. Miller told the publication that a number of factors make the Eastern District attractive to patent plaintiffs. “Those factors include various practice rules the Eastern District has for patent cases, along with the relative certainty of which judge will handle a case based on which Eastern District division the plaintiff files suit in,” said Mr. Miller. “The district also has a reputation, fairly or not, as being plaintiff-friendly. These variables can add to the fear that smaller clients feel when sued in a jurisdiction that is not necessarily local to them.”
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