Shop Till You Drop

Friday, June 8, 2018 - 09:55

It’s going on a year since the U.S. Supreme Court flipped the patent world on its head by restricting venue in infringement actions in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods. Suddenly, patent holders, accustomed to cruising the aisles of patent-friendly federal courts, would have to change their shopping habits. What would that mean for certain favored venues, including wildly popular Marshall, the Paris of East Texas? (At 54 percent, it has the highest win rate in the nation, and its notoriously friendly jurors reward shoppers with a median award of $9.9 million.) Overall, the number of new filings dropped by almost 10 percent, as did the number and proportion of those filings by “high-volume plaintiffs,” which suggests the patent trolls are laying low. Interestingly, in the six months following TC Heartland, the top 10 districts fielded 75 percent of filings – the same proportion as a year earlier. What has shifted, however, is the relative market share of the districts, as the accompanying chart demonstrates.