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Unintended Consequences: Eastern Texas may Become a Tech-Wasteland

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | February 24, 2019

No. 1,620

Image: Apple Store on Boylston Street, in downtown Boston.

Marginal Revolution picked up a rumor that the two Apple stores located in eastern Texas will be closed and noted that they happen to be located in the favorite forum of patent case plaintiffs.

“In 2016, Marshall, Texas with a population of only 24,000, was home to an astonishing 25 percent of all patent filings in the U.S. In May of 2017, however, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods that plaintiffs can’t forum shop to find a friendly court. Instead patent plaintiffs must file in districts where the company  being sued is incorporated or where it has an established place of business.

Businesses are now responding to the Supreme Court’s rule by shifting their establishments. Apple, for example, looks like it will close both of its retail stores within the Eastern District of Texas and instead open a new store in Dallas, just south of the Eastern District of Texas border.”

There are amazing implications here. Marshall Texas and environs may be destined to remain an economic desert.  No new headquarters for technology companies.  No retail outlets either.  Think of what that could mean to the City of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania if the Western District became an attractive forum for patent plaintiffs.  The robotics industry and other CMU spinoffs might move away.  Google might move its office. On the other hand, what if our District Court developed a reputation for a strong defense bias in patent cases?  Would that suggest an opposite headquarters siting trend?

In the early 21st Century, a city without an Apple Store is no-place.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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