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There is broad consensus that these numbers are a function primarily of forum-shopping; in fact, one article described patent suit filings in East Texas as the equivalent of going to Mexico to get a "quickie divorce." It should be noted, though, that analyses comparing the Eastern District of Texas with other venues demonstrate that it is not necessarily a "rocket docket." In fact, at least five other districts have been faster for patent cases Given that it is not the fastest docket, that few if any major corporations are actually housed in the district, and that Eastern Texas is unlikely to be chosen as a venue because of its convenience to parties and witnesses, many have looked to other factors to explain the soaring popularity of this region with plaintiffs in patent cases.
The causes that have been suggested are judges with expertise and experience in patent litigation, local rules that are often favorable to the plaintiff, a general judicial disinclination to grant summary judgment and jurors who tend to favor patent holders – so much so that for one three year period, there were 20 consecutive plaintiff victories without a single defense win in a patent case in the district.
Marshall and the rest of the Eastern District maintain their attraction for plaintiffs, and the numbers above tell why.
With this in mind, we offer some observations about jurors in East Texas based on recent pre-trial research we conducted, followed by advice to both plaintiff and defense counsel.