Texas is a Growing Hub of IP Activity
Texas courts becoming less favorable than they once were for parties filing patent suits has not stopped the Lone Star state from becoming home to a wide range of IP owners and advisers.
The state may play second fiddle to the SF Bay Area as IP king, but it manages to be home to as many Fortune 500 companies as California (57), innovative SMEs, law firms and patent licensing businesses and analysts.
With cases now taking 18 months or longer to be heard, three longtime judges retiring, and recent favorable decisions for patent defendants, Texas may not be somewhat less attractive to plaintiffs. But this evolution has not stopping a broad range of IP-centric businesses from making the state their home.
Conditions unique to Texas include leading universities and medical research centers, NASA, a central location between the Silicon Valley and the Northeast, mild winters, and, let us not forget, no state income taxes. (Texas is one of seven states.)
Texas IP players include (in no particular order):
Johnson Space Center, NASA
Texas Medical Center, largest medical complex in the world
Prof. Paul Janicke, U. of Houston, patent dispute research
Personalized Media Communications (inventor-owned licensing business), Gerald Holtzman and Boyd Lemna are in Sugar Land
Pluritas, IP transactions firm with Partner Craig Carothers in Pearland
Patent valuation experts include Walt Bratic (formerly PwC) and Jim Woods (UHY Advisors), Chris Bakewell (Duff & Phelps), Alan Ratliff (Stoneturn), James Nawrocki, (IPC Group)
Joby Hughes, co-founder Altitude Capital Partners
Dallas-Fort Worth-Plano (“Silicon Prairie”):
AT&T (top 25 in U.S. patents)
Kimberly-Clark (more than 10,000 patents)
Texas Instruments (semiconductor and other patents)
Celanese (specialty chemicals)
Acacia Research Group NASDAQ: ACTG (licensing business), Dooyong Lee
IP Navigation Group, Dallas, Erich Spangenberg (successful NPE)
Keith Ugone, Analysis Group
Austin (“Silicon Hills”):
Dell (patents and trademarks)
Patent Calls (patent analysis, Dr. Jose Melendez)
Gametime IP (leading patent blog from Patrick Anderson)
Innography (patent analysis software)
South by Southwest (music, film and emerging technology conferences)
Freescale Semiconductor (patents/licensing)
Lodsys Group (licensing company, sometimes associated with Intellectual Ventures)
Eolas (Internet technology provider; successfully sue Microsoft for $521M )
Law Firms with significant IP practices for plaintiffs and defendants include – Sidley & Austin, Fish & Richardson, Baker Botts, Fulbright Jaworski, McKool Smith, Susman Godfrey. (Susman Godfrey, and the firm of Heim, Payne Chorush was one of the first boutique firms to focus almost exclusively on plaintiff-centric contingency patent litigation.)
Universities – Texas is home to three universities that have received the tier-one designation: The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University (College Station (60 miles north of Houston) and the private Rice University (Houston).
As of 2010 it shares the top of the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with California at 57. With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. It leads the nation in export revenue since 2002 and has the second-highest gross state product.
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My apologies to those that may have been left off of the list. It was not intentional. The point of this is that when it comes to innovation and IP rights Texas is cookin’, and not just in the in the Eastern District. The state represents a unique blend of patent-centric businesses and innovation in a good position to grow.
Only a handful are there for the courts. None that I am aware of are planning to relocate to Delaware anytime soon.
Image source: elseyequinelaw.com