Federal Circuit overturns Gilstrap patent venue rules

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned a decision by Eastern District of Texas Judge Rodney Gilstrap, finding that he committed an “abuse of discretion” by refusing to transfer a patent lawsuit against Cray Inc. to another court.

A three-judge panel granted a petition from supercomputer company Cray for a writ of mandamus and ordered Judge Gilstrap to transfer a lawsuit by Raytheon to another court.

The full finding can be read here

Judge Gilstrap had used his decision in June to deny Cray’s transfer motion to establish a four-factor test to determine whether the Eastern District of Texas is an appropriate venue for patent cases.

His June move had followed the US Supreme Court’s TC Heartland decision in May that changed rules over venues.

Judge Gilstrap’s June decision was closely watched partly because he handles a great number of patent cases — and some critics had alleged the move appeared to be an attempt to keep patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas.