For years, the Eastern District of Texas was the favored stomping ground for patent trolls. Short times from filing to trial, shorter trials, judges with local rules friendly to patent plaintiffs, and a jury pool that tended to be friendly to plaintiffs all contributed to this. It probably didn’t hurt that Eastern District judges were significantly less likely than average to grant defendants summary judgment and, more recently, significantly less likely to stay a case pending IPR.
And NPEs were likely particularly interested in the fact that the Eastern District gave NPEs a win at trial almost twice as often as the average court would.
But with the Supreme Court’s 2017 TC Heartland decision, NPEs had a much harder time suing defendants in the Eastern District. Since most defendants had no presence in the district, NPEs could no longer rely on it being an option in their lawsuits, especially after some of the more far-reaching attempts to keep cases in Eastern Texas were slapped down by the Federal Circuit.
Enter Judge Alan Albright and the Western District of Texas.