Nearly 200 patent infringement lawsuits were filed in the federal district for East Texas in a single day – increasing the odds the venue will remain a patent troll favorite for the second year in a row.
Patent trolls, the label given to shell companies that buy up patents for the purposes of suing major companies, helped make the Eastern District of Texas the top spot for patent litigation in 2014 with 1,425 infringement suits filed in the venue, according to a March 26 Lex Machina report.
So far in 2015, court records show 2,477 patent infringement cases have been brought in the district, already 1,000 more than last year’s total, with the month of December still to go.
This year’s total was greatly bolstered on Nov. 30 when companies, some of which carry the patent troll label, filed 196 new patent suits in a single day.
The suspected reason behind the mass filings is a series of new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure amendments that went into effect on Dec. 1, making the changes a possible culprit motivating the Nov. 30 rush of patent lawsuits.
The U.S. Supreme Court approved Congress’ FRCP amendments in April, revising Rule 84, which, prior to Dec. 1, allowed plaintiffs to file bare-minimum patent complaints, according to Lexology.com.
Congress has attempted to address the problem of frivolous patent lawsuits for the past several years.
The hordes of patent lawsuits being funneled into East Texas has even warranted the attention of the state’s leaders, especially U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a continued supporter of the Innovation Act – legislation aimed at reducing incentives for filing frivolous patent infringement lawsuits.
And East Texas’ ever-surging reputation as a patent litigation haven has not escaped the attention of the world’s largest business federation either.
In September, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, which owns the Record, released a survey evaluating the fairness and reasonableness of state liability systems – a study that ranked East Texas as the worst local jurisdiction in the nation.
A wide-array of companies were named as defendants in the Nov. 30 patent suits, a list that ranges from tech giants to banks and even pizza suppliers, including: Apple, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Sprint, Verizon, Netflix, Samsung, Best Buy, Microsoft, J.P. Morgan Chase and Domino’s.
Court records further show that only a handful of plaintiffs were responsible for the majority of the filings in East Texas:
- Ruby Sands (21);
- Guyzar (20);
- Encoditech (20);
- Opal Run (19);
- Iris Connex (18);
- Anuwave (17);
- Manitto Technologies (10);
- Mozly Tech (9);
- CYVA Research Holdings (8);
- Cypress Lake Software (7);
- Fun Slide (6);
- Reflection Code (5);