Apple plans to close all retail stores in Eastern District of Texas in fight against patent trolls

“Apple plans to close both of its retail stores within the Eastern District of Texas in a few months from now in an effort to protect itself from patent trolls, according to five sources familiar with the matter,” Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors.

“Apple Willow Bend in Plano, Texas and Apple Stonebriar in Frisco, Texas, both located in the northern suburbs of Dallas, are expected to permanently close in mid April,” Rossignol reports. “One source said each store’s final day of business will be Friday, April 12. Employees were briefed about the plans earlier this week. To continue to serve the region, Apple plans to open a new store at the Galleria Dallas shopping mall in Dallas, just south of the Eastern District of Texas border. One source said the store will open Saturday, April 13.”

“The plans are significant, as U.S. law states that patent infringement lawsuits may be filed ‘where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business,'” Rossignol reports. “By closing its stores in Eastern Texas, Apple is ending its established place of business in the district.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Amazingly, yet somewhat predictably, it’s come to this.

This is why rocket dockets can’t have nice things.

Federal jury rules Apple must pay $502.6 million to VirnetX – April 10, 2018
Patent troll Soverain Software targets Apple in new lawsuit – March 17, 2017
Apple hit with lawsuit claiming patent infringement over iPhone’s battery technologies – July 12, 2016
Apple sued over iPhones making calls, sending email – May 23, 2016
Patent lawsuit targets Apple’s Siri voice recognition technology – January 21, 2016
Apple sued for alleged patent infringement over all capacitive touchscreen products – January 30, 2014
Eastern Texas court orders Apple to pay $8 million in patent trial over iPod playlists – July 9, 2011


    1. Their not punishing citizens .. they are punishing the Morons in Texas who have been filing dozens upon dozens of patent lawsuits for several years now. Let them eat Android screen lockups and claim that. Maybe welfare checks are not enough for them so they become patent trolls.

  1. It’s about time. Seems like every patent verdict against Apple always comes out of the Eastern District of Texas. Clearly, that court has a bias against Apple and that’s why patent trolls make a bee line to that court. Closing the stores sound like a very reasonable reaction to an untenable situation.

    1. The bias isn’t against Apple. It’s against rich intellectuals with non-Texas roots. The juries in East Texas are by and large either working class or unemployed, and they blame their misfortune on bicoastal elitists. The patent trolls have home offices in places like Longview and Marshall, and they hire local, faux-folksy lawyers to front their legal teams.

      Not even well-educated jurors are likely to understand the complex technical issues in a patent case. When the jurors have never even taken high-school physics, it comes down to supporting the home town team, like the locals do in football. The jury is just interested in screwing the rich defendant.

      1. That is true, TxUser. East Texas is predominantly rural. And I have found bigotry to be rampant in that area. I know that is painting with a broad brush and not everyone in East Texas is that way, but it is common.

        People might recall towns named Vidor and Waco… Yes, they are located in East Texas (maybe not in the court district, but east Texas nonetheless).

  2. The “rocket docket” is 150 miles away from either of the Apple Stores in question though. The real problem is the activist judges that were appointed in Washington DC that have setup shop in a tiny East Texas town. Until something is done about the entire corrupt judicial system, these issues will continue to pop up all over.

    1. What’s your solution? These are jury verdicts, not judicial decisions, activist or otherwise. I suppose we could have the Executive Branch overrule the right to trial by jury, like it is trying to overrule legislative appropriations. We already know that facts don’t matters

      1. These are not criminal trials. The court is empowered to set aside any verdict it determines to be unsupported. by the evidence and testimony presented to a jury. This is why these cases go on and on and on with endless appeals and motions.

        It’s not the juror pool. There is no evidence to support any such conclusion. The vast majority of the juror pool in that district is Dallas or suburban Dallas and not exactly “by and large either working class or unemployed, and they blame their misfortune on bicoastal elitists.” It’s not quite the moron convention TxUser seems to think it is.

        TxUserwill probably have some thinly veiled sarcastic comment if he replies. That’s his usual MO when someone has the nerve to point out his knowledge of something is actually quire limited.

        He has deceived himself into equating being articulate with intelligence.

        1. Michaele11111,

          Before you personally attack another poster for having quite limited knowledge, you might want to get your facts straight. Truth matters. Three points where you are simply wrong (is that “thinly veiled” enough for you?):

          A—Obviously, a federal judge can set aside a verdict if it is unsupported by the evidence. In fact, if there is no evidence to support the plaintiff’s case, the judge can—and will—render a directed verdict for the defendant. So, if the case makes it as far as jury deliberations, there must be substantial evidence on both sides.

          Which side should prevail then comes down to deciding whether the plaintiff has met his burden of proving liability by a preponderance of the admissible evidence. That is a judgement call, and judges (even federal judges) are forbidden to simply substitute their judgement for that of the jury. We have juries in America precisely to make fact findings based on contested evidence.

          A judge who reverses a jury that is not manifestly mistaken can get reversed on appeal. Besides which, why would he want to throw out the fruits of a trial that may have taken months, only to go through it all again with a new jury that might reach the same conclusion?

          B—It is not the case that “The vast majority of the juror pool in that district is Dallas or suburban Dallas.” Almost all of the population of Dallas is in the Northern District of Texas (Dallas, Rockwall, or Kaufman County) and cannot serve on an Eastern District jury. The same is true of all of the Dallas suburbs to the east, south, or west.

          The tiny bits of Dallas dry land in Collin or Denton Counties, and the adjacent northern suburbs, are all in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District, and only provide jurors for trials held in Sherman or Plano. That jury pool is entirely irrelevant to trials held in any of the other five Divisions of the District.

          That includes trials of patent cases, which are almost always filed in Marshall, Tyler, or Texarkana. Of those cases, the majority are filed in Marshall because that is where the patent trolls maintain their offices of record and where the judges have the most experience with patent cases.

          C—Yes, it is the jury pool. The evidence is that the plaintiff prevails about 68% of the time in patent cases nationally (those jurors tend to soak the rich, too). In the Eastern District of Texas, plaintiffs win 88% of the time, which is why over a third of all patent cases filed anywhere in the United States are filed in the Eastern District.

          —As for RC’s theory that the Eastern District judges are carpetbaggers from Washington “who have set up shop in a tiny Texas town,” the evidence points elsewhere. Yes, like every other Article III judge since 1789, they were appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate, but I think it is safe to say that no federal judge in Texas has ever been confirmed over the objections of a Texas Senator.

          The District Judge in Marshall who hears 25% of the patent suits in the country, J. Rodney Gilstrap, was born in Florida, but has lived in Texas since he entered Baylor as an undergraduate in 1973. After law school, he had a private practice in Marshall (which included patent cases) until he was appointed to the Federal Bench in 2011 and was confirmed unanimously by the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate. Previously, Judge Gilstrap was elected to three terms (1989-2002) as the head of the county government in heavily Republican Harrison County, Texas.

          —As for Mr. Dingler’s remark, perhaps he should devote himself to his art, since he doesn’t seem to think that facts have any point.

            1. Not just a zinger, Dingler. It is a bit of advice that you might want to take seriously. You have a bad habit of speaking with your foot firmly lodged in your mouth (or somewhat lower).

            2. What makes you think this has been the real Dingler? It could easily be a fake Zingler making a fool out of the Dingleberry…

          1. One clarification: the 68% national figure for plaintiff-friendly jury verdicts included the Eastern District. The average for the other 93 federal districts is just 58%, versus 88% for the EDTX.

            1. The judges in the EDTX are on the take. You can blame it on hillbilly citizens there all you want, but these are federal judges that have fixed the dockets for their own gain. They only allow cases to be tried there that they can steer to the end result that they want.

  3. Well this sucks but I don’t blame Apple.
    Stonebriar is the closest one to me.

    But then again, I haven’t wanted anything from an Apple Store in a long time until Valentine’s when I bought the misses an Apple Watch (which I could’ve gotten from the local Best Buy instead of going to my favorite location, Northpark).

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