U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts backed calls for the federal courts’ policy making body to review rules that have led to a concentration of patent cases in a Texas court criticized by Apple and other tech firms.
In his annual year-end report on the judiciary, Roberts said the Judicial Conference of the U.S. is going to review the issue of judicial assignment and venue for patent cases in federal trial courts. Roberts had asked the Director of the Administrative Office, who serves as the secretary of the Judicial Conference, to present the issue after members of Congress from both parties complained that a quarter of all patent cases in the nation are concentrated before a single judge in Waco, Texas.
Courts in Waco in the Western District of Texas and Marshall in the Eastern District have long been the bane of tech companies. In the first year that most courts around the country were closed because of the pandemic, juries in the two districts slapped companies like Apple and Intel Corp. with more than $3.7 billion in damages, including a $2.2 billion hit against Intel in Waco.
The Texas courts are particularly favored by patent-licensing firms, often called the pejorative “troll,” whose sole purpose is to collect royalties. The companies don’t make products, nor in many cases are they the original inventors of the patented technology. The firms often file dozens or even hundreds of lawsuits against tech developers, manufacturers and retailers in hopes of a quick payoff.
MacDailyNews Take: And the dwellers under bridges nationwide collectively shuddered. Let’s hope something of meaningful significance comes of this rocket docket review.
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[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]