Let's say I want to launch a product A in the US. It looks like many troll lawsuits are filed in the Eastern District of Texas and unfortunately many of them are won and then overturned on appeal by which time hundreds of thousands of dollars and months/years have been wasted.

What if I didn't sell or advertise the product to Texas entirely and absorbed the loss in revenue? Something like "Not for sale in TX".

Would it still be possible for a suit to be brought in TX if no product was ever sold there (hence no infringement happened there?), and are there any other legal ramifications?

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


No. Patent trolls file in the eastern district of Texas not because the allegedly infringing products are sold there, but because the trolls have their "headquarters" there. If a product is found to be infringing, the decision is enforced nationwide.

If you own a patent, you file any infringement lawsuits in the jurisdiction in which you are domiciled (i.e., where you live, or if "you" are a corporation, the address at which the company is incorporated). Because the Eastern District of Texas is regarded as notoriously friendly to patent holders, a large number of non-practicing entities (NPEs) have incorporated there for the sole purpose of being able to bring suits in the district. A 2011 episode of the public radio program This American Life visited a nondescript office building in the small town of Marshall, Texas, just across the street from the federal courthouse, that is home to dozens of NPEs, all of which occupy locked and apparently permanently empty offices. These NPEs are corporate entities in name only, and exist only to own patents and bring infringement lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas. Because the patent system is federal, however, any judgments handed down by the court apply nationwide. It doesn't matter where the products are sold.

  • 1
    Thanks - How does the ED of Texas get jurisdiction on the case though? Isn't there typically a minimal contact required to be able to bring a suit to court? If you've never sold a product there, advertised there or set foot there, can't you get the trial moved elsewhere though? Here's one source I found to be related but not conclusive: patentlyo.com/patent/2007/04/patent_jurisdic.html
    – aed
    Dec 2, 2013 at 9:54
  • aed - I expanded my answer with more specifics.
    – phenry
    Dec 3, 2013 at 17:51

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