U.S. Supreme Court should reject lower court's loose venue interpretation

By The SE Texas Record | Feb 13, 2017

“When a single district court hears so many cases, not because of convenience or connection to the dispute, but because it is chosen by litigants on one side, the perception of a neutral justice system is undermined.”

That's one of several cogent comments made by Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton and 16 other state AGs in an amicus brief filed last week in a U.S. Supreme Court case concerning proper venues for patent infringement claims.

The single jurisdiction they cited as an example of apparent partiality was, of course, the Eastern District of Texas, which, though only one of 94 federal judicial districts, attracts 25-50 percent of all patent infringement cases and typically awards $38 million more in damages than the national average.

Asserting that they “have an interest in protecting their citizens from abusive claims of patent infringement, which businesses and residents confirm are a drag on economic growth,” Paxton and peers sought “to highlight the forum shopping enabled by the Federal Circuit’s expansion of patent venue and emphasize how the current venue system fosters nuisance litigation and impairs the judicial system’s reputation for the neutral administration of law.”

According to Paxton, “The Federal Circuit’s misinterpretation of the patent venue law undermines public confidence in the judicial system and has . . . turned the Eastern District of Texas into an intellectual property ‘speed trap.’ Patent trolls know full well that the cost of litigating cases [here] makes it cheaper for many companies to just pay them to go away,” he asserted. “That’s why it’s so important for the Supreme Court to reverse the lower court.”

In pursuit of unearned wealth, Paxton believes that patent trolls and their attorneys plunder wealth creators, diverting productive funds to unproductive purposes, impeding innovation, retarding progress, stifling our economy, increasing the prices of goods and services, and potentially denying consumers the benefits of inventive minds.

The Supreme Court should slap down judges who tolerate, encourage, and facilitate such antisocial activities.

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