Friday, February 22, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Closing Stores Because of Patent Trolls

Joe Rossignol:

Apple plans to close both of its retail stores within the Eastern District of Texas in a few months from now in an effort to protect itself from patent trolls, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

[…]

The plans are significant, as U.S. law states that patent infringement lawsuits may be filed “where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.” By closing its stores in Eastern Texas, Apple is ending its established place of business in the district.

[…]

The Eastern District of Texas has been a hotbed for patent litigation over the past few decades[…]

Is this a brilliant legal hack? A sign of a system so broken that even a company with Apple’s resources would rather inconvenience customers than try to defend itself? Note that at the country level, Apple has chosen to play ball in legal environments that it doesn’t like, but those have threatened its customers rather than Apple itself.

Update (2019-02-26): See also: Hacker News.

5 Comments

English Teacher

"...those have threatened its customers’ rather than..."

There's no reason to have an apostrophe after the word "customers"... were you thinking of an implied "customers' interests" or something like that? (Then the apostrophe would be correct.) You should remove it.

I think I originally had another word after that. Thanks.

I don't understand how one district can interpret federal law so differently than every other. You'd hope the appeal process would even that out somewhat. I saw, "Patent infringement lawsuits against Apple will likely shift to U.S. district courts in Northern California and Delaware," and wondered how those next two assumedly worst cases could be that much better.

Has to be partially a sort of PR move to expose how bad east Texas has become, but even so this shows the law is wildly unevenly applied.

Pierre Lebeaupin

Ahem…

I hope the employees of those stores will have a place to go.

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