Bonum Certa Men Certa

EFF Asks CAFC to Tackle the Trolls' Docket, the Eastern District of Texas

Summary: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asks the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) to do something about the capital of patent trolls, which have become symptomatic of the problems with the US patent system

THE USPTO has become notorious for many reasons, one of which is its role in producing a plethora of patent trolls, equipped with software patents. Texas too has become notorious for many reasons (education quality, police brutality, gun crime etc.) but one that is relevant to us pertains to patent trolls as well. The Eastern District of Texas is unique in this regard because it's now known as the capital of patent trolls and very little apart from that. There is already an international reputation for this.



According to this recent article, the EFF asks for a shutdown of this trolls' docket because almost nothing but patent trolls comes from/to there anyway. To quote one of the earliest articles on this subject:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge have asked a federal appeals court to make big changes to the rules governing venue in patent cases. The two public interest groups are seeking to file an amicus brief (PDF) which attacks the Eastern District of Texas as being one of the "most notorious situations of forum shopping in recent history."

The opportunity came up in a case where an Indiana company called TC Heartland was sued by Kraft Foods for infringing three Kraft patents on "liquid water enhancers." Kraft sued TC Heartland in Delaware; TC Heartland asked the judge for a transfer to Indiana, but was shot down.

TC Heartland has appealed the venue decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles all patent appeals. It's asking the court to overturn entirely a 1990 case that has made it easy for patent holders to sue in just about any district they choose.


The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is itself part of the problem. Asking it to remark on or reform the Eastern District of Texas is perhaps wishful thinking.

Mike from TechDirt remarked as follows: "It's been nearly ten years since we first wrote about the East Texas district court, based in Marshall, Texas, (and Tyler, Texas) and the fact that patent trolls have been flooding that court with cases. The trolls claimed they liked East Texas because the judges worked quickly and because they "understood" patent issues. The reality, of course, is that East Texas became notorious for a few judges who were insanely pro-patent troll, and ran their cases in a manner that helped out trolls immensely. It's become a cottage industry, leading to some weird situations, such as the time that Tivo (involved in a patent lawsuit at the time) literally bought a bull right in Marshall, Texas. Perhaps no company has "invested" more in winning over folks in Marshall than Samsung, which not only sponsored the local ice rink, but also gives scholarships to high schoolers there, donates to local schools and takes kids on semiconductor factory tours -- all out of the kindness of its corporate heart, no doubt."

Whether the EFF succeeds here or not, it sure helps raise awareness of a problem that cannot and will not be ignored. Here in Europe, where the EPO already perturbs patent laws, patent trolls gradually nest and even attack.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Microsoft's Pearls of Wisdom: Layoffs Are Growth
Microsoft boss: layoffs are "long-term growth."
Microsoft Lacks a Solid Strategic Plan Other Than Buying Its Own Stock (and Paying Staff in Shares)
Beware and be cautious of bubbles
 
IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 23, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, February 23, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Links 24/02/2024: EA Planning Layoffs and 'Liquor Regulators Are Seeking Revenge on Bars That Broke Pandemic Rules'
Links for the day
Gemini Links 24/02/2024: In Defense of Boilerplate and TinyWM Broke
Links for the day
[Meme] Hide the Bodies
hiding EPO's role in funding Lukashenko
Josef Kratochvíl and All the European Patent Organisation's Chiefs (at the Administrative Council Too) Notified That Over 1,000 Members of Staff Demand Action on Patent Quality and Compliance (Industry Too is Alarmed That Many Invalid Patents Get Granted)
Huge corruption
Debian trademark canceled
Debian trademark canceled
Links 23/02/2024: Feed Aggregator and 2 Years of Invasion, Alexei Navalny’s Mother Blackmailed
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/02/2024: Getting 'Sick' of Modern Tech and Deletion of One's Reddit Account
Links for the day
Links 23/02/2024: 227 Microsoft Layoffs Noted in Santa Clara and Disaster in Rivian
Links for the day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 22, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 22, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
[Meme] It's NOT Your PC
losing control of hardware
Microsoft's Chatbot Strategy Resulted in Massive Losses, So Now It's Trying to Reinvent Itself as 'Hardware Company' (Once Again, Years After XBox, KIN, Windows Phone and Surface Failed Miserably)
revenues associated with Windows has fallen sharply
Gemini Links 22/02/2024: Removing Radio Ads and Being Seen on the Internet
Links for the day
Mark Shuttleworth and the Question of Liability (Debian Volunteers He Pressured Before the Suicides)
Humanity for me
Mark Shuttleworth's (MS) Canonical Running Microsoft (MS) Ads, Mischaracterising Mass Surveillance as 'Confidential' (the Usual Lie)
The money talks, so the facts are absent
Ads as 'Articles'
Money buys perception manipulation (or reputation laundering) campaigns
Abraham Raji & Debian, DebConf kayak death: search abandoned, evading liability
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 22/02/2024: Chatbots Failing 'Big Time' and More Condemnations Appear of Bill Gates
Links for the day
There May be Close to 100,000,000 Laptops and Desktops Running GNU/Linux Around the World in 2024
hard to track the number
Search Engine Market Share Worldwide Shows How Badly Microsoft's Chatbot Strategy (Hopes) and Vapourware Have Failed
Bing, which was marketed as the forefront "product" for chatbots (Microsoft paid the media a lot of money for hype campaigns), gained nothing at Google's expense
[Meme] Demoralising and Putting Down Your Staff
unproductive and dangerous approach
This Week's Letter to António Campinos About Mean-Spirited Line Managers at the European Patent Office (EPO)
Seems like a way to get rid of staff. Some will resign in anger.
Software in the Public Interest (SPI) & Debian obfuscated structure fooled suicide victim's family: the ultimate example of bad faith
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 21, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Gemini Links 22/02/2024: What We Pass On and HTTP Header Viewer
Links for the day