United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
|United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas|
|Appeals to||Fifth Circuit|
|Established||February 21, 1857|
|Chief Judge||Ron Clark|
|Official court website|
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (in case citations, E.D. Tex.) is a federal court in the Fifth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
Organization of the court
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas is one of four federal judicial districts in Texas. Court for the District is held at Beaumont, Lufkin, Marshall, Plano, Sherman, Texarkana, and Tyler.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current Acting United States Attorney is Brit Featherston.
The first federal judge in Texas was John C. Watrous, who was appointed on May 26, 1846, and had previously served as Attorney General of the Republic of Texas. He was assigned to hold court in Galveston, at the time, the largest city in the state. As seat of the Texas Judicial District, the Galveston court had jurisdiction over the whole state.
The Eastern District of Texas currently hears the most patent cases in the country and has seen an increase in the number of cases filed relating to patent infringement, notably in the courts of Judge T. John Ward in the Marshall Division, Judge Leonard Davis in the Tyler Division, and Judge David Folsom in the Texarkana Division and now Judge J. Rodney Gilstrap in the Marshall Division and Judge Robert W. Schroeder III in the Texarkana Division, as well as Magistrate Judges Roy S. Payne, John Love and K. Nicole Mitchell. Perhaps because the district has a set of local rules for patent cases and relatively fast trial settings, patent plaintiffs have flocked to this small venue. In addition the proximity to larger cities (such as Dallas and Houston), along with a jury pool interested in protecting property rights, may attract patent cases to Marshall, Tyler, and Texarkana.
In 2003, there were 14 patent cases filed. In 2004, this number more than quadrupled to 59 patent cases filed. In 2006, the number of cases grew to an estimated 236.
The district has been perceived to be a favorable jurisdiction for plaintiffs in patent infringement lawsuits, which win 88% of the time compared to a nationwide average of 68% in 2006, even, according to some claims, in dubious cases (i.e. patent trolls).
Between 2004 and 2011 the district presided over TiVo Inc. v. EchoStar Corp., involving the issues of patent infringement and contempt of court.
In 2009 Judge Leonard Davis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, ordered a permanent injunction that "prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML," according to an announcement by the plaintiff, Toronto-based i4i Inc.
In 2013, 24.5% of federal patent suits filed in the U.S. were filed in the Eastern District. Judges in this district have been found to grant requests for summary judgment of invalidity at a lower rate than the national average.
In 2014, 1,425 patent suits in the U.S. were filed in the Eastern District, making it the number one region with the most filings in the country, followed by the United States District Court for the District of Delaware in second place, with 946 patent cases filed, with the United States District Court for the Central District of California ranking third with 305 cases.
In 2015, a staggering 43.6% of federal patent suits (2,540 suits) were filed in the Eastern District, which was more than the number of lawsuits filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware (545 cases or 9.3%), the United States District Court for the Central District of California (300 cases or 5.1%), the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (228 cases or 3.9%) and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (162 cases or 2.8%) combined.
In 2016, 1,647 cases (or 36.4%) of the nation's patent cases were filed in the Eastern District, which was again more than the total number of lawsuits filed in the District of Delaware (455 cases or 10.1%), Central District of California (290 cases or 6.4%), Northern District of Illinois (247 cases or 5.5%) and Northern District of California (188 cases or 4.2%) combined.
The vast majority of the patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas are filed before or heard in the Marshall, Texas division by District Court Judge James Rodney Gilstrap and Magistrate Judge Roy S. Payne.
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|24||Chief Judge||Ron Clark||Beaumont||1953||2002–present||2015–present||—||G.W. Bush|
|25||District Judge||Marcia A. Crone||Beaumont||1952||2003–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|27||District Judge||James Rodney Gilstrap||Marshall||1957||2011–present||—||—||Obama|
|28||District Judge||Amos L. Mazzant III||Sherman||1965||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|29||District Judge||Robert W. Schroeder III||Texarkana||1966||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|18||Senior Judge||Richard A. Schell||Plano||1950||1988–2015||1994–2001||2015–present||Reagan|
|21||Senior Judge||Thad Heartfield||Beaumont||1940||1995–2010||2003–2009||2010–present||Clinton|
Vacancies and pending nominations
|Seat||Seat last held by||Vacancy reason||Date of vacancy||Nominee||Date of nomination|
|3||Richard Schell||Senior Status||March 10, 2015||–||–|
|6||Leonard Davis||Retirement||May 15, 2015||–||–|
|7||Michael H. Schneider, Sr.||Senior Status||January 7, 2016||–||–|
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for
|1||Watrous, John CharlesJohn Charles Watrous||Texas||1801–1874||1857–1870[Note 1]||—||—||Polk, Polk||resignation|
|2||Winch, Joel C. C.Joel C. C. Winch||Texas||1835–1880||1870–1871[Note 2]||—||—||Grant, Grant||not confirmed|
|3||Morrill, AmosAmos Morrill||Texas||1809–1884||1872–1883||—||—||Grant, Grant||retirement|
|4||Sabin, Chauncey BrewerChauncey Brewer Sabin||Texas||1824–1890||1884–1890||—||—||Arthur, Arthur||death|
|5||Bryant, David EzekielDavid Ezekiel Bryant||Texas||1849–1910||1890–1910||—||—||Harrison, B.B. Harrison||death|
|6||Russell, Gordon J.Gordon J. Russell||Texas||1859–1919||1910–1919||—||—||Taft, Taft||death|
|7||Estes, William LeeWilliam Lee Estes||Texas||1870–1930||1920–1930||—||—||Wilson, Wilson||death|
|8||Bryant, RandolphRandolph Bryant||Texas||1893–1951||1931–1951||—||—||Hoover, Hoover||death|
|9||Sheehy, Joseph WarrenJoseph Warren Sheehy||Texas||1910–1967||1951–1967||1954–1967||—||Truman, Truman||death|
|10||Cecil, Lamar John RyanLamar John Ryan Cecil||Texas||1902–1958||1954–1958[Note 3]||—||—||Eisenhower, Eisenhower||death|
|11||Fisher, Joseph JeffersonJoseph Jefferson Fisher||Texas||1910–2000||1959–1984||1967–1980||1984–2000||Eisenhower, Eisenhower||death|
|12||Justice, William WayneWilliam Wayne Justice||Texas||1920–2009||1968–1998||1980–1990||1998–2009||Johnson, L.L. Johnson||death|
|13||Steger, WilliamWilliam Steger||Texas||1920–2006||1970–1987||—||1987–2006||Nixon, Nixon||death|
|14||Parker, Robert ManleyRobert Manley Parker||Texas||1937–present||1979–1994||1990–1994||—||Carter, Carter||reappointment|
|15||Cobb, HowellHowell Cobb||Texas||1922–2005||1985–2001||—||2001–2005||Reagan, Reagan||death|
|16||Hall Jr., Sam BlakeleySam Blakeley Hall Jr.||Texas||1924–1994||1985–1994||—||—||Reagan, Reagan||death|
|17||Brown, Paul N.Paul N. Brown||Texas||1926–2012||1985–2001||—||2001–2012||Reagan, Reagan||death|
|19||Hannah, Jr., John H.John H. Hannah, Jr.||Texas||1939–2003||1994–2003||2001–2003||—||Clinton, Clinton||death|
|20||Folsom, DavidDavid Folsom||Texas||1947–present||1995–2012||2009–2012||—||Clinton, Clinton||retirement|
|22||Ward, T. JohnT. John Ward||Texas||1943–present||1999–2011||—||—||Clinton, Clinton||retirement|
|23||Leonard DavisLeonard Davis||Texas||1948–present||2002–2015||2012–2015||—||G.W. Bush, G.W. Bush||retirement|
|26||Schneider, Sr., Michael H.Michael H. Schneider, Sr.||Texas||1943–present||2004–2016||—||2016||G.W. Bush, G.W. Bush||retirement|
Succession of seats
- http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/courts_district_tx.html U.S. District Courts of Texas, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center
- http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/28/I/5/124 United States Code 28
- National Park Service Archaeological Field Inspection
- U.S. Department of Justice: 2002 Centennial Report, pgs. 1, 10
- JULIE CRESWELL, "So Small a Town, So Many Patent Suits", New York Times, September 24, 2006
- A Haven for Patent Pirates
- i4i Limited Partnership v. Microsoft Corporation 670 F. Supp. 2d 568
- "Why Do Patent Trolls Go to Texas? It's Not for the BBQ". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
- David Yates, SE Texas Record, Eastern District of Texas No. 1 home for patent suits, report finds, http://setexasrecord.com/stories/510607088-eastern-district-of-texas-no-1-home-for-patent-suits-report-finds
- Lex Machina, 2015 Year End Trends, https://lexmachina.com/lex-machina-2015-end-of-year-trends/
- Brian Howard, Lex Machina, Q4 Litigation Update, https://lexmachina.com/q4-litigation-update/ Note: In 2016 (by the third quarter), 1,195 cases (or 35.4%) of the nation's patent cases were filed in the Eastern District, which was again more than the total number of lawsuits filed in the District of Delaware (309 cases or 9.2%), Central District of California (243 cases or 7.2%), Northern District of Illinois (182 cases or 5.4%) and District of New Jersey (158 cases or 4.7%) combined. See Brian Howard, Lex Machina, 2016 Third Quarter Litigation Trends, https://lexmachina.com/2016-third-quarter-litigation-trends/
- Kaleigh Rogers, Motherboard (Vice), The Small Town Judge Who Sees a Quarter of the Nation’s Patent Cases, http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-small-town-judge-who-sees-a-quarter-of-the-nations-patent-cases