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Judge Still Trolling For Patent Cases

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November 12, 2021

In the past three years Judge Alan Albright, has actively campaigned for patentees to file suit in his courtroom, and his campaign has succeeded. The Waco Division, where he sits, had a total of five patent cases in 2016 and 2017, before the judge started enticing plaintiffs. In 2019, 217 patent suits were filed in Waco, and the following year the total was 761, more than 20% of total patent cases filed nationwide. Most are by non-practicing entities, and involve computers and communication technology. Judge Albright moves cases quickly, and his procedural rulings tend to favor patentees, giving NPEs increased leverage during settlement negotiations. But the Federal Circuit has begun to push back, repeatedly using the extraordinary writ of mandamus to overturn decisions by Judge Albright denying transfer out of Waco. Time will tell whether interventions through mandamus will work, but the authors of this article are skeptical that it will prove to be anything more than a band-aid for well-resourced defendants to challenge the most obviously incorrect transfer decisions.

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