Distributing Cases in W.D.Tex.

On July 25, 2022, W.D.Tex. Chief Judge Garcia issued a unique order regarding assignment patent cases filed in Waco Texas federal court.  Prior to that order, all Waco cases were assigned to Judge Albright.  Many accused infringers complained that Albright was taking cases to trial to quickly and after some political pressure Judge Garcia issued this new order that going forward any patent actions filed in Waco will be distributed randomly to one of twelve W.D.Tex. Judges.

Since that date, 234 patent cases have been filed in W.D.Tex.  One surprise from looking at the judicial assignments — about 1/3 of these new cases have been assigned to Judge Albright. It appears that the court may be making an exception to the rule when new cases are closely related to already pending cases, but I have not seen any public statement on that front.  Of the other 11 judges, all have received at least one new case, with most having 9-11 patent cases to handle.  The new randomness appears to also create a delay in case assignment.  About 25% of the cases have not yet been assigned to any judge — most of these are cases filed in October.

14 thoughts on “Distributing Cases in W.D.Tex.

  1. 6

    It is still the case that Judge Albright never issues Markman opinions–all he does is give you a table of the claim terms with 4 columns: (1) claim term (2) plaintiff’s construction (95% of time = “plain and ordinary”) (3) defendant’s construction and (4) court’s construction. Column 4 aligns with column 2 90%+ of the time. He never gives any explanation for his constructions. For the court that wanted to be the top “patent court” that is beyond bad.

    1. 6.1

      Sounds rather efficient.

  2. 5

    Re: “Many accused infringers complained that [Judge] Albright was taking cases to trial to quickly..” ?

    “There is an old Russian fable, with different versions in other countries, about two poor peasants, Ivan and Boris. The only difference between them was that Boris had a goat and Ivan didn’t. One day, Ivan came upon a strange-looking lamp and, when he rubbed it, a genie appeared. She told him that she could grant him just one wish, but it could be anything in the world. Ivan said, ‘I want Boris’ goat to die.’ … ”

  3. 4

    This is a long-standing practice in the WDTX. It is also efficient to let the judge that has experience with the patents continue to adjudicate related cases. Not sure why this is surprising to anyone. It will be interesting to see what happens to the Garcia order when Judge Moses takes over. I have some predictions I will share soon.

    1. 4.1

      Thanks Eric! Just looking at the numbers here for folks to see what is happening.

      I think it makes sense to send cases to Judge Albright that are related to once he has already been handling — in my view, 1404 should be interpreted to encourage that practice.

  4. 3

    What does the rate of filings, before the order and after, look like?

    1. 3.1

      To add to this, just how many cases are related cases?

  5. 2

    I attended a CLE today where they mentioned that if you look in PACER, you can see a number of cases since Judge Garcia’s order in which the patentee files in WD Tex, and then withdraws the case once it is assigned to some judge other than Albright. No great significance to that observation, other than that it was amusing enough to share.

    1. 2.1

      That is interesting.

    2. 2.2

      Where is that in PACER? I’m curious about those numbers.

  6. 1

    Re: “Many accused infringers complained that [Judge] Albright was taking cases to trial to quickly..” ? [That was not among the more common complaints frequently aired in prior blogs.] [Also, Fintiv decision objections were that actual trials were not occurring anywhere nearly as fast as the original projections used for those IPR denials.] Judge Albright may well have higher than normal pre-trial case settlements, but I have seen any reported statistical evidence that his huge docket of untried patent cases is getting a correspondingly larger number of actual trials completed, or completed early? If they were, where are all the Fed. Cir. appeals from all those fast trials? [Not to be confused with the Fed. Cir, venue mandamus decisions.]

    1. 1.1

      Are you omitting any level of settlements (which would not be going to the CFAC)…?

      1. 1.1.1

        No, see lines 5-6, and in general most suit settlements that would avoid any appeal issues are pre-trial not post-trial.

        In line 6 “not” is missing before “seen.”

    2. 1.2

      I have seen any reported statistical evidence that [Judge Albright’s] huge docket of untried patent cases is getting a correspondingly larger number of actual trials completed…

      WD Tex has some very favorable time-to-trial statistics. WD Tex is not the absolute fastest court in terms of time from filing a patent suit to trial, but they are the fastest among major patent venues.

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