Texas Lawbook Exclusive: Heim, Payne & Chorush Co-Founder Mike Heim Discusses Blistering Pace of Texas Patent Litigation
Texas federal courts remain the venue of choice for high-stakes patent infringement litigation, with courts in the state’s Western and Eastern judicial districts reporting the largest number of filings in the U.S., according to a midyear analysis by Texas Lawbook newspaper.
Patent owners filed 790 infringement complaints in Texas courts during the first half of 2021, a 15 percent increase over the previous six-month period, with the Waco office of the Western District of Texas continuing to be the most active venue in the nation.
The Western District reported 503 new infringement complaints during the first six months of 2021 – a 21 percent increase and 29 percent more than the 389 suits filed in Delaware federal court, the second-busiest patent docket in the country.
Texas Lawbook spoke with Heim, Payne & Chorush managing director Mike Heim about the 2021 patent infringement litigation landscape. The article (click here to read the article) notes that the increasing number of patent lawsuits in the Western District is a direct result of the appointment of District Judge Alan Albright to the Waco division of the Western District in 2018:
Judge Albright implemented new patent litigation procedures and has seen his patent docket jump 1350% during the past three years.
“When looking to file a patent case, you first look for a judge who understands patent law and who enjoys handling patent trials, and Judge Albright is that person,” said Heim, a partner at Heim, Payne & Chorush in Houston “There are a lot of judges who are outright hostile to patent cases.”
Most IP lawyers clearly agree. During the past two years, more than 1,500 new patent infringement cases have been added to Judge Albright’s docket.
The Eastern District of Texas, once predicted to be neutered as a patent litigation jurisdiction after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in T.C. Heartland v. Kraft Foods, recorded 228 new lawsuits alleging patent violations – an 18% increase. The EDTX has the third largest patent docket in the country.
“It is probably faster right now to get a trial date in a patent case in the Eastern District than in the Western District because the Eastern District has fewer cases on its judges’ dockets,” said Michael Heim, who represents plaintiffs and defendants in patent disputes.