Bonum Certa Men Certa

When British Companies Get Dragged Into Texan Courts Over Software Patents That Aren't Even Valid in Britain

US patent law matters everywhere as even Brits can be dragged into the rocket docket of patent trolls

Rodney Gilstrap



Summary: Some news from the abusive courts of the Eastern District of Texas, where patent justice is mostly an illusion because of the likes of Rodney Gilstrap (above)

Metaswitch Networks, a British company sued by patent thugs in Texas, has just won a case initiated in a Texan court, which is rare/hard. Metaswitch Networks now says that CAFC has just denied a patent injunction against it. Background was provided in our previous articles about this case.



"Federal District Court Denies Injunction Request in Genband US LLC vs Metaswitch Networks Ltd. Patent Litigation," says the headline of the press release, issued in London 3 days ago. The press/media (local or US) didn't seem to cover it, but someone sent us the press release that reads: "Cloud-native communications software leader Metaswitch today announced that the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has denied Genband US LLC's motion for a permanent injunction against Metaswitch stemming from patent litigation between the two companies [Case No. 2:14-cv-33-JRG]. Genband US LLC filed the motion in February 2016. "We are pleased with the court's ruling," said Martin Lund, Metaswitch CEO, "and look forward to continuing our successful partnerships and customer engagements utilizing our broad technology portfolio and long history of technical innovation.""

Do patent courts in Texas have ethics? Remember it's them who enabled this expensive and cumbersome process for a British company (almost half a world away). These courts actively advertise themselves as being plaintiffs/trolls-friendly and this new article from Patently-O speaks of ethics opinions from Texas. To quote the key part: "The Texas ethical rules have some bearing on federal court litigation in the Fifth Circuit, although they do not control. See In re American Airlines, Inc., 972 F.2d 605 (5th Cir. 1992). Nonetheless, the Eastern District will consider the Texas rules as part of determining “national standards” of ethics in federal court. (I practiced in Texas for a long time, and am still licensed there and advise lawyers there, and this “national standards” of ethics thing can be a real trap for unwary lawyers who think they can rely on the Texas rules, alone.)"

"BlackBerry is Canadian, not Texan, so why pursue litigation down in Texas? It's very obvious why and it's a ruinous thing that makes Texas stand out as a major culprit."What we have here helps demonstrate that the VENUE Act [1, 2] is necessary and Texan courts are a big part of the problem. Right now BlackBerry says it will stop producing phones and the company has already begun suing companies using patents, choosing to file the lawsuits in Texas. BlackBerry is Canadian, not Texan, so why pursue litigation down in Texas? It's very obvious why and it's a ruinous thing that makes Texas stand out as a major culprit. This actually damages the public image of the entire state.

Remember where Newegg ended up fighting back against patents trolls? Yes, that too was Texas and it involved software patents in general. Texas does not seem to care if one is a troll, if Alice forbids abstract software patents and so on. The courts there are mostly rigged, as we demonstrated before.

Newegg's Lee Cheng recently spoke to Unpatent, an initiative we last mentioned 2 weeks ago. Here is a summary/overview of their talk:

Today we talk to Lee Cheng, the most prolific patent troll killer. He runs corporate development at Newegg where he also serves as Chief Legal Officer. We are extremely lucky of having him onboard as an Advisor to Unpatent, his experience and insights are truly invaluable.

We have a couple stories on the pipeline, but these stories are hard to find because companies are usually scared of making this public. As Lee explains, the moment you settle for the first time, you become an easy target. If you know any stories, please reach us at sadness@unpatent.co

Without further ado, you can enjoy the interview below. We also made a transcript of it in case you’d rather read it.


Rather than attempt to tackle one patent at a time, which is what Unpatent is hoping to accomplish, one should advocate for PTAB and oppose software patents. The EFF is currently trying to also limit the damage caused by courts in Texas -- the kind of nuisance which now facilitates patent bullies from Canada and impacts even companies as far away as Britain.

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