Senators Tillis and Leahy Cite PIJIP Prof. Jonas Anderson in Letter to Supreme Court

November 15, 2021

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Prof. Jonas Anderson

Senators Tillis and Leahy recently cited PIJIP Professor Jonas Anderson's article "Federal Judge Seeks Patent Cases" in their letter to SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts. The letter expresses concern that patent litigants are engaging in "forum shopping" - requesting to have their cases heard in a particular division with only one judge - who "has openly solicited cases at lawyers' meetings and other venues and urged patent plaintiffs to file their infringement actions in his court." Senators Tillis and Leahy ask Justice Roberts to direct a Judicial Conference to conduct a study of "actual and potential abuses that the present situation has enabled."  

Professor Anderson's paper, coauthored by Paul Gugliuzza, describes this practice and the problems it causes: 

"The centralization of patent cases before a single judge, acting entirely on his own to seek out patent litigation, is facilitated by the Western District’s case filing system, which allows plaintiffs to choose the specific judge who will hear their case. These dynamics—a judge advertising for patent cases and plaintiffs shopping for that judge—undermine public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary, make the court an uneven playing field for litigants, and facilitate the nuisance suits patent trolls favor. Two common-sense reforms would reduce the harms of judge shopping: (1) district judges should, by law, be randomly assigned to cases, and (2) venue in patent cases should be tied to divisions within a judicial district, not just the district as a whole."

The letter by Senators Tillis and Leahy is here.

Professor Anderson's paper is here.