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Online Symposium: Forum Selling and Legitimate Authority in the Patent System

Guest Post by Greg Reilly

For over a decade, patent litigation has been surprisingly concentrated in a single federal district court. At one time, almost half of the nation’s patent litigation occurred in small towns in eastern Texas.1 Now, 20% of patent litigation occurs before a single judge based in Waco, Texas.2 This concentration of patent litigation is not the result of the inherent characteristics of these districts but instead of the affirmative efforts of particular judges to attract patent cases to their courthouses.3 Scholarly commentary of this forum selling and patent litigation concentration, including by myself, has been largely critical.4 The primary objection is that the districts and judges competing for patent litigation improperly skew procedures in favor of the patentees who make the forum choice.5

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