Re: The game is afoot!
It's not about a small percentage game. The Eastern District of Texas can have their own rules regarding how trials are conducted and what is allowed and they have many rules which make it more difficult to defend a patent case.
Due to these rules it could be seen as bias towards the plaintiffs, or patent-friendly even if unintentional. However the Judges and lawyers in that town are unlikely to not have noticed how this is seen in the wider context, how it is good for the towns and business and the status it gives them when ruling on 1/4 of all federal court patent cases. In fact it can attract big sponsorship to the area, the ice rink in Marshall was sponsored by Samsung of all people.
Some quotes about the judicial system in that area:
"By introducing a list of standing court orders and local regulations, the Eastern District of Texas (and, in particular, Gilstrap's division of Marshall) has become the court of choice for many plaintiffs, especially non-practicing entities, or NPEs."
"Some of the proverbial scaffolding propping up this troll-luring system was inherited by Judge Gilstrap, while some of it was his design, and he's been happily maintaining this unintentional specialized court for half a decade.
It's a boon to the town, where visiting litigators bring in money and perks, from lawyers ordering catered lunches at the local restaurant, to Samsung sponsoring an outdoor skating rink downtown."
"...the Eastern District didn't become a patent troll haven by accident."
""There's a whole cottage industry around this litigation and it's not just the courts and the lawyers," Samuels said. "It's the hotels and the restaurants. This is big business in Marshall and Tyler, which creates totally perverse incentives.""
And go to the tyler4tech website where they try to encourage tech companies to set up in Tyler and one of their main boasts ist the following:
Tyler serves as headquarters to the Eastern District of Texas federal court, a popular venue for patent cases due to its judicial expertise, plaintiff-friendly local rules, speedy dispositions, and principled jurors who understand the value of Intellectual Property (or “IP”). The East Texas area also has an abundance of legal experts specializing in patent and IP litigation. " (my emphasis)
So it isn't just a quirk of statistics that people choose to go there and it may not be that the end rulings are biased (but there is some evidence it is skewed by their principled jurors), it is the favourable treatment of plaintiffs in patent and IP cases compared to the other districts, where the rules help to get a settlement rather than a trial - which is exactly what a patent troll wants.