Senators Introduce Bill To Curb Venue Abuse In Patent Cases

BY Heather Greenfield
March 18, 2016

Washington — Senators Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, have introduced a bill aimed at patent trolls filing abusive patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas, considered friendly territory for those whose main business is patent lawsuits rather than making products. The Eastern District of Texas took 44 percent of all patent cases filed in 2015. Judge Gilstrap of the Eastern District is based in Marshall, Texas, which has a population of 24,000 people, yet he hears about one-fifth of all patent cases in the United States.

This bill to reform venue abuse in the patent system would require those filing a patent claim to bring the suit in a district where the defendant has a main business operation or where the defendant has committed an act of infringement and has a facility.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has been advocating patent reform for more than a dozen years. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“Abuse of the patent system has unfortunately become big business in America and that business has been headquartered in the Eastern District of Texas. Nearly half of all patent cases are now brought in two small Texas towns by entities whose main business is patent lawsuits. This bill won’t end all abuse, but changing the venue, will change the climate, and hopefully, change the profitability of these frivolous patent suits.”

“For too long patent trolls have seen Eastern Texas as a friendly venue for frivolous lawsuits. This abuse costs legitimate, innovative companies millions of dollars each year and for too long has been a drain on our economy. We thank Senators Flake, Gardner and Lee for their leadership to stop this abuse of our patent system.”

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