Patent Trolls Fuel a “Renegade Jurisdiction”
Our regular readers will recall our extensive coverage of the patent troll problems in the Western District of Texas, but it’s fair to say patent trolls find fertile ground in courts across the Lone Star State.
As the Allen American recently reminded us, fifteen years ago the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia called the Eastern District of Texas a “renegade jurisdiction.” And, as Garrett Gravely writes in the Allen American, the Eastern District remains “a hotbed for frivolous patent infringement litigation.”
Sure, you may not see the Eastern District in the news quite as often these days, following the Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods that made forum shopping more difficult. But the district, which includes several counties in North Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, remains “one of the most prolific patent litigation venues in the federal judiciary.” More than 200 patent infringement lawsuits were filed in that district just this year, with defendants ranging from Dallas-based AT&T to Cracker Barrel and Samsung and Chick-Fil-A.
And the continued flow of patent troll cases in the Eastern District has grabbed the attention of a high-profile Metroplex resident, too. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Mark Cuban.
Cuban talked with the Allen, Texas local paper, to say the patent trolls aren’t stupid. They’ve found an opening in the Eastern District of Texas and a jurisdiction welcoming their claims.
“I can only tell you from the outside looking in that it appears to be a great industry for EDTX. It’s actually smart on their part. It’s not their fault that patent laws are ridiculous and sometimes not in [the] interest of the country.”
This isn’t the first time that Cuban, the outspoken entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks owner, and Shark Tank Star, has blasted patent trolls and worked to expose and defeat them.
In 2013, Cuban endowed a chair at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), dubbing it the “The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents.”
And, he was blunt back then too, talking about why he’s involved in the patent troll fight. He pulled no punches when he talked to Tech Crunch, saying:
“Because dumbass patents are crushing small businesses. I have had multiple small companies I am an investor in have to fight or pay trolls for patents that were patently ridiculous.”
We’re right there with you, Mark. Patent trolls are crushing small businesses.
Entrepreneur reminds us that “more than 50 percent of businesses targeted by patent trolls make less than $10 million in revenue per year and 75 percent are privately held.”
Help us shine a light on these “renegade jurisdictions” and expose the threat patent trolls pose to America’s innovators and job creators.