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Chief Justice Backs Plan to Review Patent Trial Forum-Shopping

  • Roberts said Judiciary Conference will review forum rules
  • Tech companies have long criticized patent cases in Texas
Chief Justice John Roberts
Chief Justice John RobertsPhotographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Chief Justice John Roberts backed calls for the federal courts’ policy making body to review rules that have led to a concentration of patent cases in a Texas court criticized by Silicon Valley heavyweights like Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

In his annual year-end report on the judiciary, Roberts said the Judicial Conference of the U.S. is going to review the issue of judicial assignment and venue for patent cases in federal trial courts. Roberts had asked the Director of the Administrative Office, who serves as the secretary of the Judicial Conference, to present the issue after members of Congress from both parties complained that a quarter of all patent cases in the nation are concentrated before a single judge in Waco, Texas.