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Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: Speedy
Date: February 26, 2019 03:53AM
[www.idropnews.com]

The Eastern District of Texas has become a happy hunting ground for patent trolls over the years, and it appears that Apple may have finally decided that it’s had enough of giving them the home field advantage in the many patent fights that the company finds itself the target of.

According to a new report by MacRumors, in the coming months Apple will be shuttering both of its retail stores located in the Eastern District of Texas in order to take away the ability for patent trolls to file lawsuits within that district, which has had a long reputation of being a hotbed of patent litigation due to its extremely plaintiff-friendly rules and large jury awards.

Located in the Eastern District of Texas, the town of Marshall has been referred to as “the patent litigation capital of America.” A 2014 article in Texas Monthly noted that more than 1,500 patent cases get filed in the town annually, more than those filed in the entire state of Delaware, which is the jurisdiction in which most U.S. companies are actually incorporated. Billions of dollars in patent awards have been handed out by juries in the town for well over a decade, and in almost every case the rules of jurisprudence have been much friendlier to plaintiffs, leading many patent trolls to actually set up their “paper corporations” with headquarters in the town. In fact, many estimate that Marshall’s economy has become almost entirely dependent upon the patent litigation business.

If patent cases were distributed evenly among the federal district courts, each one would have received about 33 cases so far this year – a far cry from the 1,387 filings in the Eastern District of Texas.

Electronic Frontier Foundation
A 2015 analysis by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) outlines the history of patent litigation and how the Eastern District Texas Court rose to such prominence among patent litigators, reaching the point where by 2014 almost half of all patent cases in the United States were being filed in that district. Further, EFF’s analysis revealed that while 71 percent of all patent challenges were granted or partially granted overall in the U.S., in the Eastern District of Texas the exact opposite was the case — 73 percent of all patent challenges summarily denied by the court.

Due to its massive size and high profile, Apple has long been a favoured target of patent trolls, who unsurprisingly have chosen the Eastern District of Texas as their battlefield. Specious patent lawsuits range from claims of Apple Watch exercise monitoring infringement to fast-charging technology to iMessage “point-of-sale” features, and the list goes on ad nauseam. However, despite the frivolity of many of these lawsuits, Apple is frequently forced to pay massive penalties to companies that have done nothing more productive than managing to acquire a piece of paper and file a lawsuit.

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The two specific stores that will be affected are both located in suburbs of Dallas that happen to be just inside the border of the Eastern District — Apple Willow Bend in Plano, and Apple Stonebriar in Frisco. Sources speaking with MacRumors have indicated that Apple will be opening a new store at the Galleria Dallas shopping mall in Dallas, on the other side of the border, on April 13. Sources also indicate that Apple also plans to ensure that its employees from those retail stores are offered other opportunities, such as transfer to other stores, work from home providing AppleCare support, or receiving a severance package. Apple has not yet publicly announced these plans, and has not yet responded to any requests for comment.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: Michael
Date: February 26, 2019 05:07AM
Good.
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Re: Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: February 26, 2019 06:20AM
......patent pending.....??



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I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: testcase
Date: February 26, 2019 08:03AM
How would such a move stop “patent trolls”? dunno smiley



This sounds like a symbolic move.
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Re: Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: February 26, 2019 08:06AM
....and what will it do for patent leather....???



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I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: MEG
Date: February 26, 2019 08:44AM
Quote
testcase
How would such a move stop “patent trolls”? dunno smiley

IIRC, residency determines the applicable venue of a patent infringement lawsuit. If Apple isn't in that district, the trolls can't use those courts and the Eastern District verdicts are pretty much the inverse of any other district in patent infringement cases (in the trolls favor) which is why the trolls use them.
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Re: Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: pdq
Date: February 26, 2019 09:58AM
Good!
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Re: Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: February 26, 2019 10:28AM
About time. Hopefully, other companies will do the same.
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Re: Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: testcase
Date: February 26, 2019 10:51AM
Quote
MEG
Quote
testcase
How would such a move stop “patent trolls”? dunno smiley

IIRC, residency determines the applicable venue of a patent infringement lawsuit. If Apple isn't in that district, the trolls can't use those courts and the Eastern District verdicts are pretty much the inverse of any other district in patent infringement cases (in the trolls favor) which is why the trolls use them.

Then why would ANYBODY have a business presence in that part of Texas????
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Re: Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: February 26, 2019 12:04PM
Color me dubious. I can't find any discussion of this, except on tech blogs that are just echoing each other—and similar stories from a year ago.

Moreover, in the 2017 case TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, the Supreme Court held that the phrase “where the defendant resides” in patent law refers only to the state of incorporation. In the words of ipwatchdog.com, “a patent infringement action may not be brought against a corporation in a judicial district in which it is not shown to have committed any of the alleged acts of infringement and which is outside the state where it was incorporated—even though the company may have a regularly established place of business in that district.” This was expected to rapidly limit the patent docket in Marshall.
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Re: Apple Closing East Texas Retail Stores to Shut Out Patent Trolls
Posted by: MEG
Date: February 26, 2019 02:06PM
That's it - as a result of TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brand, LLC, venue is not proper in a patent infringement action where the defendant has simply committed an alleged act of infringement (e.g., selling an allegedly infringing product) in a jurisdiction. Rather, venue in a patent infringement action is now limited to the place of incorporation or where the defendant has committed an alleged act of infringement and has a regular place of business.

No regular place of business in the Eastern District means no more using that district for lawsuits if the Heartland v Kraft decision holds up as precedent. Won't know until somebody tries to sue a company that doesn't have a presence in the district.
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