Many patent plaintiffs continue to flock to the Eastern District of Texas as often as the current venue laws will let them. The district continues to vie with Delaware for the most patent cases in the country. For years this rush to the “Right Side” of Texas was driven by the popular belief that juries from Marshall to Beaumont simply hand out huge awards to everyone who comes calling with a patent. Like most conventional wisdom, there was some basis for it: In the early-to-mid 2000s, plaintiffs won 18 straight verdicts. But since then it’s been around half plaintiff’s verdicts, half defense. And recently, defendants have been on a roll, by our count winning 11 of 15 trials in 2013. The results of 2013 are worth a closer look for anyone on either side of the “v.”
In 2013, the defendants in three cases obtained the ultimate “take nothing” jury verdict as three Eastern District of Texas juries found the patent claims invalid and not infringed. An additional seven juries concluded that the asserted claims in the cases before them were not infringed. Of this group, four juries found that the asserted claims were valid. The remaining three juries were not asked to determine validity. The defense verdicts were rounded out by two co-defendants who proved that the asserted claims were invalid for failure to add one or more inventors. In that case, validity and infringement were bifurcated and the infringement issue was not tried to a jury following the invalidity verdict.