Just saw an article "East Texas judge backs off restrictive “abstract” patent motion rules: Section 101 is a powerful tool for patent defendants, if they can get heard" on Ars Technica, which pointed out that "[l]ast year, the patent rules for Gilstrap's court held that defendants seeking to file a motion under Section 101 "may do so only upon a grant of leave from the Court after a showing of good cause, which shall be presented through the letter briefing process.""
Yes. Last year.
Around the middle of last year Judge Gilstrap did briefly extend the then-in-effect letter briefing requirement for summary judgment motions in patent cases to motions raising 101 issues, but less than six months later, as I posted on November 11, he took all motions raising 101 issues - including summary judgment motions - out of letter briefing completely. Perhaps coincidentally (or perhaps not) this was just a few weeks after he granted the lack of patentable subject matter motion in the 100-defendant 2015 tranche of eDekka cases, which had gone through normal - not letter briefing - channels.
Last week's order eliminated letter briefing for all other summary judgment motions in patent cases. But the article's assertions that last week's change had anything to do with 101 motions is incorrect. 101 motions have been free range locally since last November.