In 2010, the Eastern District of Texas remained the undisputed Rocket Docket for patent cases. According to a recent article, 299 patent cases were filed in the E.D. Tex. in 2010. That’s 44 more cases than the next most popular district in Delaware. Even more stunning, however, is the number of defendants in the E.D. Tex.: nearly 4,000, compared with under 1,000 for the next most popular district.
The E.D. Tex. remains a popular district because the docket moves quickly (hence the nickname) and because the judges are perceived as familiar with patent cases. In litigation, plaintiffs generally want to move quickly, while defendants wish to slow down the process. Motions to transfer venue are a way to slow down the process by (1) filing the motion in the first place, and (2) transferring the case to a slower, less patent-savvy district court.
The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears all patent appeals, continues to review many cases involving requests for transfer of venue. Some of those cases have attempted to make it easier for Defendants to secure a transfer of venue to a more convenient location. Accordingly, it remains to be seen whether the E.D. Tex. will continue to be the nation’s Rocket Docket for patent cases.