Waco, Texas—Will Judge Alan Albright Create a New Hotbed of Patent Litigation Deep in the Heart of Texas?

By Vincent Allen*

The Waco Division of the Western District of Texas has seen a dramatic up-tick in the number of patent infringement suits filed there since Judge Alan Albright was sworn into office in September 2018.  The judge’s implementation of standing orders for patent cases and his promise of running an efficient docket by issuing timely rulings and offering prompt access to jury trials makes the venue an attractive choice. 

While not any case can be filed in Waco due to the restrictions placed on venue in patent cases by the Supreme Court’s TC Heartland decision, the Western District of Texas is home to places of business for many companies.  In addition to Waco, the district includes Austin San Antonio, Midland-Odessa, and El Paso.  So venue would be proper in Judge Albright’s court against any company that has a regular and established place of business in these other cities.  However, a plaintiff may face a motion to transfer venue for convenience to another division if the case has no connection to the Waco division. 

Judge Albright has over 20 years of experience in the field of intellectual property law.  He has tried high stakes patent litigation cases and as a result comes to the bench ready to efficiently move his patent cases.  Judge Albright served as a magistrate judge in Austin from 1992-1999, making him no stranger to the bench either.  Judge Albright is enthusiastic about his desire for Waco to become a hub for the very cases he understands so well, and one of his stated goals is to move the cases very fast.  He will try to resolve discovery disputes quickly by phone, and he expects his patent cases will go to trial about 18 months after the case is filed. 

Plaintiffs in patent cases have taken notice.  Before Judge Albright took the bench last September, fewer than ten patent cases had been filed in Waco since the court’s creation in 1984.  Since Judge Albright took the bench, more than ninety patent infringement cases have been filed. 

Judge Albright received a bachelor of arts degree with honors from Trinity University.  He obtained his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, where he also taught trial advocacy as an adjunct professor for several years. 

*Vincent Allen is a partner focusing his practice on intellectual property litigation and management of IP portfolios.  He earned his law degree from Baylor Law School in Waco. If you need help with patent litigation in Waco or elsewhere, please give Vincent Allen a call at 972-367-2001 or send an email to allen@cclaw.com.