Patent Trolls

This was written back in 2017, but I wanted to resurrect the article to see what has become of patent trolls and where are they now going? Back in 2017 I wrote “A unanimous Supreme Court ruling delivered Monday, May 23, 2017 closed a loophole against patent trolls that allowed for venue shopping. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the court, stated that a domestic corporation resides only in the state of its corporation. This ruling will change the litigation landscape for patent suits throughout the United States. Forum shopping for patent litigation suits are over, which will raise the costs of any patent trolling activity. This ruling will make it harder for patent trolls to litigate a suit in a venue that is more favorable and cheaper for them. It will be interesting to see whether or not this will decrease the number of patent litigation suits filed by patent trolls, or will they still file in the forum that they are located in.”

So what happened? Did this ruling curtail patent trolls from forum shopping? Patent trolls have now opted for the Federal Courts of East Texas, where the venue is extraordinarily biased to their side unfortunately. 

In Roberts annual year-end report he writes

The third agenda topic I would like to highlight is an arcane but important matter of judicial administration: judicial assignment and venue for patent cases in federal trial court. Senators from both sides of the aisle have expressed concern that case assignment procedures allowing the party filing a case to select a division of a district court might, in effect, enable the plaintiff to select a particular judge to hear a case.

So, for patent trolls filing in East Texas provides patent trolls with significantly increased leverage to negotiates deal with individuals and companies. The problem has not been curtailed but I would argue has gotten worse. Until the courts come down on patent trolls we will still be having problems with patents and the patent system.