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East Texas Reclaims Lead from Delaware for New Patent Suit Filings
The Litigation Daily
The Eastern District of Texas, which in 2011 appeared to be losing its lustre as the preferred U.S. district court venue for patent suits, regained its prominence in 2012, usurping the District of Delaware for the No. 1 spot, according to a new analysis by Perkins Coie partner James Pistorino.
EDTX saw 1,266 new patent cases filed in 2012more than triple the 418 suits it saw in 2011. At least some of this tremendous rise is attributable to changes brought about by the America Invents Act, the patent reform legislation that took effect in September 2011. The number of patent lawsuits filed in the District of Delaware also rose significantly, as did the total number of patent cases filed in all U.S. district courts in 2012, Pistorinos research shows. A partner in Perkins Coie's patent litigation practice, he has tracked patent cases for the past few years.
The Eastern District of Texass resurgence to the No. 1 spot is notable because some patent attorneys had wondered whether it was falling out of favor. The district, which includes federal courts in the cities of Beaumont, Marshall, and Tyler, has been a favored venue for several years in part because of its reputation as a rocket docket, and also because it's perceived as a place where juries favor plaintiffs. In addition, plaintiffs attorneys liked being able to predict with some accuracy which judges would get a case because only a few of the districts judges are assigned to patent suits, Pistorino told us in an interview.
But EDTX dropped to second place in 2011. According to Pistorino, this may have been a blip, attributable in part to the retirement of Judge T. John Ward, who is credited with getting cases in the Eastern District to move quickly. Ward retired in October 2011 after 12 years on the bench. His seat was filled in December 2011 by Judge James Rodney Gilstrap.
The resurgence of EDTX may have occurred at least in part because some of the uncertainties that arose with the implementation of the America Invents Act have been assuaged. New joinder rules were a cause for concern among plaintiffs attorneys, for example, because they require that a plaintiff that asserts a patent against multiple defendants must now file separate suits against each defendant.
Read the full story in The AmLaw Litigation Daily.