Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Patent Trolls' Lobby is Upset About TC Heartland, Tries to Belittle Its Impact While Promoting Software Patents

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) made history by overturning the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC)

TC Heartland v. Kraft
Reference: TC Heartland v Kraft



Summary: A roundup of recent takes and spin surrounding the decision of the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS), in which is was ruled that lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas can be shifted to other venues (closer to the alleged infringements, typically involving dubious software patents)

THE impact of TC Heartland (2017, SCOTUS) has been spectacular. So far we've been hearing about a 60% decline in patent litigation in the Eastern District of Texas. That's just the beginning!



The patent trolls' lobby is understandably unhappy. Earlier today David Newman (Chair of Gould & Ratner's Intellectual Property Group) wrote in Watchtroll that "TC Heartland decision follows the trend of eroding patent holder rights," but actually what he meant to say was that SCOTUS fixes patent practice, bringing it into closer alignment with what the patent system was supposed to be all along (before it got profoundly debased). TC Heartland is here to stay and people like Newman might not. Jobs like his are becoming obsolete and he too might soon become redundant. If you're a patent troll, then sure, TC Heartland is terrible news.

"If you're a patent troll, then sure, TC Heartland is terrible news."TC Heartland was also covered a few days ago by Patently-O (like Watchtroll, albeit less rude). If US courts like Gilstrap's can just ignore SCOTUS on matters such as patents, then we're in serious trouble. Here is what Patently-O said: "The E.D.N.Y. denied Yahoo’s motion to dismiss, holding (on oral decision): (1) that Yahoo had waived its right to challenge venue; and (2) that TC Heartland did not change the law (since Fourco has been the controlling law all along)."

It might be too early to say just to what degree the SCOTUS decision will enable venue challenges. The decision is less than half a year old and it also took Alice years to 'mature' -- to the point where the USPTO might soon abolish software patents altogether.

In another new post regarding TC Heartland Dennis Crouch was nitpicking to help patent trolls. It certainly, based on the subtext, sounded like an effort to find exception to the norm and say that "TC Heartland defines residence at the state level, but 1400(b) requires a district-by-district focus — “the judicial district where the defendant resides.”"

It later noted that "the whole point of TC Heartland was to focus attention on the patent venue statute and away from these more general definitions."

"It might be too early to say just to what degree the SCOTUS decision will enable venue challenges."I'm not a law professor, but I know enough about TC Heartland to say that its main/net impact will be the ability to relocate away from the likes of Gilstrap. Unless a company trades primarily in the Eastern District of Texas, it will be incredibly difficult to drag it down there (also unless the defendant is unaware of the consequences of letting it be). We have already seen how Gilstrap got 'slapped down' by higher courts, for refusing to let cases depart from the Eastern District of Texas (in defiance of SCOTUS).

Maybe we are being a tad harsh on Patently-O, but this year (more than in past years) it's openly attempting to help the patent trolls and even linking to sites like Watchtroll, which watch out for the trolls' interests. Sometimes even the software patents lobby or the patent troll Dominion Harbor receive links. What a neighbourhood for Crouch to have... Dominion Harbor is currently cherry-picking cases to try to scandalise Alice/Section 101. Look at the sorts of people who promote this; the software patents lobby. As for Watchtroll, it is still lobbying for software patents and pushes aggressively against Alice, in essence trying to get the law thrown aside, as usual. It even stated a few days ago in a tweet: ""Amicus Support needed for 101 case @ SCOTUS. Should claims be invalidated only on the pleadings? Important question."

"The bottom line is, there's a strong push for patent trolls' 'rights', for the 'right' to patent abstract ideas, and for biased judges to rule on these matters in order to maximise profits around their court venue."Patently-O is still a relatively good source (less radical than most) for some insights and days ago it published this figure about "patent size". It was an automated analysis of patents' scale, plotted based on pretty big data sets. For some patents, the composition can be just as shallow as putting together numbers and citations (from reusable templates), resulting in longer patent texts even when the substance is low and quality/merit is questionable.

The bottom line is, there's a strong push for patent trolls' 'rights', for the 'right' to patent abstract ideas, and for biased judges to rule on these matters in order to maximise profits around their court venue. Hardly noble causes. These are just things to watch out for.

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