I suspect it wasnt because of the good barbecue. But a post on Slashdot referenced by someone on the ASU Blackboard list says the following.
I found some interesting information in the testimony of Kimberly A. Moore, Professor of Law at george Mason University to the House Judiciary Committee. She argues that:
"Forum Shopping in Patent Cases: To the extent that there is any doubt about the existence and pervasiveness of forum shopping in patent cases, let me offer some empirical evidence. See Kimberly A. Moore, Forum Shopping in Patent Cases: Does Geographic Choice Affect Innovation, 79 N.C. L. REV. 934 (2001). Patent cases are not evenly distributed among the 94 district courts. Comparing the data on patent litigations from the five year period 1995-1999 (9542 patent cases) and 2000-2004 (12,768 patent cases) provides insight into the changing landscape of patent litigation. In the last five years, the top ten district courts have 47% of all patent cases. Comparing this to the data from 1995-1999, where the top ten jurisdictions had 44%, it seems at first blush like patent cases are even more heavily consolidated now in just a few key jurisdictions than they were five years ago. The problem is that it is not the same key jurisdictions. The data show, however, that plaintiffs in patent cases are moving en mass away from some judicial districts and towards others. I have titled the draft paper where I present these empirical results – Patent Lemmings.
For example, the Eastern District of Virginia, affectionately know as the Rocket Docket, used to be a hub for patent cases. In 1997, 3.2% of all patent cases were resolved there. In 2004, the percentage dropped to 1.6% (a 50% decrease) – dropping in the rankings from seventh to twenty-third. The Eastern District of Texas, on the other hand had 0.3% of all patent cases in 1997 and in 2004, it had 1.9% (a 633% increase) – going from tied for fifty-eighth to seventeenth. These changes are not due to a major relocation of large sectors of industry – they reflect forum shopping on the part of opportunistic plaintiffs who perceive a benefit to filing in the Eastern District of Texas and who have grown disenchanted with the Eastern District of Virginia. I am not suggesting that the cases that are filed in Texas belong more properly in Virginia, in fact, the Eastern District of Virginia was not the appropriate venue for many of the patent cases that had been filed there – a fact reflected in their 16% transfer rate in 1997."
Yet More Updates
I have posted a further update here.