The number of patent cases filed in federal court jumped up in 2015, and the Eastern District of Texas emerged as the single most popular place to file cases by a large margin, according to a report scheduled for release on Wednesday.
Issued by data analytics company Lex Machina, the report looks at intellectual property litigation in U.S. District Courts, using data mined from PACER, the federal courts database.
Total filings in the Eastern District of Texas shot up 78 percent in 2015, where 2,540 new filings Texas accounted for 44 percent of all patent cases filed nationwide.
“There were a couple of federal judges in Texas who put on their marketing hats and said, ‘If you bring your case down here, we’ll move it along and you’re gonna have a trial,’” said Lee Carl Bromberg, a long-time patent litigator at McCarter & English.
The Eastern District’s increasingly outsized-share of patent litigation has raised some eyebrows: “You go down to this little town in Texas, and inside are 200 lawyers in very expensive clothes representing some of the biggest companies in United States,” Bromberg said. “What’s wrong with this picture? Why should this little corner that’s not particularly a hotbed of innovation have such an important role to play in patent law?”
Several lawsuits have challenged the venue rules that give plaintiffs wide latitude to file in Texas. Bromberg also pointed to pending legislation in Congress which would require that the locations where patent suits are filed “have some reasonable connection to the dispute.”