More than 40 percent of all patent lawsuits are filed in East Texas. Of those, 90 percent are brought by “patent trolls,” according to a study published in a Stanford Law School journal. A Supreme Court decision handed down today will likely dramatically change those statistics.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0 today (May 22, 2017) that patent lawsuits can be filed only in courts located in the jurisdiction where a targeted company is incorporated. The decision overturned a ruling last year by a Washington-based patent court, that said patent suits are fair game anywhere a defendant company’s products are sold.
According to analysts, today’s decision will make it harder for so-called “patent trolls” to win cases. (“Trolls” is a nickname for individuals and companies that generate revenue by suing over patents they purchase, often in bulk, for the sole purpose of suing potential infringers.)
Before today’s decision, such trolls could shop for friendly courts in which to bring their suits, a major pain for high-tech companies that are constantly hit with such lawsuits.
According to Reuters, the ruling is likely to lessen the steady flow of patent litigation filed in a single federal court district in rural East Texas because of its reputation for having rules and juries that favor plaintiffs bringing infringement suits.