Since the 1990s, the Eastern District of Texas has been the preferred hunting ground for patent trolls. Judges in that district have been friendly to those who hold patents they never intend to use outside of litigation, so nearly 45 percent of patent infringement suits were filed there in 2015. But thanks to a unanimous Supreme Court ruling, the Eastern District of Texas’s time in the patent litigation limelight may be coming to an end. In TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, the Supreme Court ruled that defendants should face patent litigation in the state in which they’re incorporated. For instance, if you wanted to sue Apple or many other tech companies for patent infringement, you’d have to do so in California. Courts in other states won’t be as friendly to patent trolls, so this seemingly unrelated Supreme Court decision may have the side effect of reducing frivolous patent lawsuits.
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