In ExtraBITS this week, Walt Mossberg pens his last weekly column and patent trolls have been dealt a major blow in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Walt Mossberg Signs Off — Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg has penned what he calls “the last weekly column I plan to write anywhere” for Recode. To wrap up his career, he looks back to his first Wall Street Journal column from 1991, which started with “Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it isn’t your fault.” 25 years later, he has updated that to: “Personal technology is usually pretty easy to use, and, if it’s not, it’s not your fault.” Mossberg laments the current lull in tech, but he’s optimistic that it’s merely a pause before reaching greater heights, to the point where computers will fade into the background of our lives.
Supreme Court Decision Deals a Blow to Patent Trolls — 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 U.S. 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 Supreme Court decision may have the side effect of reducing frivolous patent lawsuits.