Tyler, TX Brags About Its “Friendliness” to Patent Trolls

A consortium of local businesses in the town of Tyler, Texas has a website to promote the town, and I have to admit I was stunned by the shamelessness of one of the pages on the site, entitled “IP Friendly”:


The page goes on to tout the advantages of filing your case in Tyler:

1. Tyler serves as headquarters to the East District of Texas Federal Court Jurisdiction.

2. East Texas courts are known for their speedy dispositions to resolve legal uncertainties

3. Tyler has a network of local attorneys skilled in patent litigation and IP matters.

4. OwnersPrincipled jurors in East Texas show a propensity for understanding the true value of Intellectual Property and have awarded IP owners appropriately.

  • l4i v. Microsoft $200M (May 2009)
  • VirnetX v. Microsoft $105.8 M (March 2010)
  • Mirror Worlds v. Apple $208.5M (Oct 2010)
  • Fractus v. Samsung$23M (May 2011)
  • VirnetX v. Apple $368.2 M (Nov 2012)
  • Ericsson v. D-Link, Gateway, Dell, Toshiba, Belkin, Netgear, $8M (June 2013)
  • Retractable Technologies v. Becton Dickerson $114M (Sept 2013)

They’re actually advertising that their local federal court is biased in favor of patent owners. I have to admire their honesty, but doesn’t someone see some kind of problem with declaring to the world that you won’t get a fair hearing in their town?

I do feel the need to note that two of the sponsors of the site are fairly litigious: Blue Spike has filed 111 patent infringement suits in the Eastern District of Texas, and PersonalWeb has filed 14 patent infringement suits in that court. Oh, and Blue Spike’s main law firm, Garteiser Honea, is a sponsor, as is Susman Godfrey, which represents PersonalWeb.

If local businesses are bragging about their court’s slanted rules and biased jurors, maybe it’s time to do something about the Eastern District of Texas. If this website is any indication, we shouldn’t expect to see any action at the source of the problem any time soon.

Matt Levy

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Matt Levy is Patent Counsel at the Computer and Communications Industry Association, where he handles legal, policy advocacy, and regulatory matters related to patents and is lead blogger for CCIA’s Patent Progress. He is recognized as an expert on patent litigation reform and is cited and quoted widely on the issue.

Matt joined the CCIA in 2013 from private practice, where he got first-hand experience in both patent prosecution and patent litigation, including defending clients against patent assertion entities.