For companies that get hit with lawsuits over obvious patents, the best chance they’ve got to fight back is last year’s Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank. Now patent defendants are often able to get a judge’s opinion at an early stage of the case about whether the patent was too obvious to grant in the first place.
Patent cases still aren’t cheap, but for those willing to fight, Alice is turning the tide in defendants’ favor—just not in East Texas.
US District Court Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who presides in Marshall (pop. 25,000), hears more patent cases than any other judge in the country. He has gone out of his way to place additional barriers in the way of defendants seeking to knock out bad patents under Section 101 of the patent laws. That’s the section that Alice relates to, which the Supreme Court said should be used to knock out “do it on a computer”-style patents.
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