I have been following the progress of the patent legislation in Congress recently, and what representatives and senators' offices are telling me is that they are being told - repeatedly - by some lobbyists and corporate officials that although they agree that the Eastern District of Texas offers good judges, who are experienced and hardworking, and fast trial settings that save both sides a lot of money, "defendants just can't win there."
As anyone that actually works in the patent docket can tell you around here, that just isn't true. Defendants have won half of the patent cases tried in the Eastern District this year, and the plaintiff's win rate in 2006 and 2007 combined is still only 66%. And as readers of my blog know, even the rulings in patent cases that I post on often show defense wins on summary judgment or other rulings.
So the next time someone tells you that "defendants just can't win in the Eastern District of Texas", send them this link - Patent Cases: Recent Rulings for Defendants. It isn't exhaustive, and isn't meant to indicate any predisposition by any of the judges or the district as a whole (and no, I'm creating another tab for wins by plaintiffs - do your own homework). It's just meant to give readers the ammunition to explain to their elected officials, and to anyone else that is interested, that defendants can and do win here, and that the outcomes have a lot more to do with the facts of the case and the quality of the lawyering than they do any perceived tendencies by the judges or juries. Stop and think about it - a lot of people have a vested interested in saying that defendants can't win here, whether it's to try to eliminate an efficient court for resolving IP disputes, or to explain away bad results due to lack of trial experience or poor preparation. I would encourage anyone who's trying to decide that question to look past the lobbying at the facts, and I hope this helps do that. I'll add some selected recent rulings for illustrative purposes, but frankly, there are enough new ones coming out to populate this category pretty quick.
The first entry is a two-fer - a recommendation by a magistrate judge that a motion for summary judgment of infringement be granted, and that the summary judgment of invalidity be denied. Both recommendations were accepted by the district judge in a thoroughly reasoned opinion.