Bedrock Computer Technologies is a patent-holding company owned by David Garrod, a former Goodwin Procter lawyer. Last month, I wrote about Bedrock's lawsuit against several of the biggest Internet companies—and CitiWare Technology Solutions, a tiny Longview, Texas software company.
Since the publication of that column, CitiWare's owner, Nate Neel-Smith, has taken down his old website and replaced it with a web page denouncing the lawyers who sued him. The lawsuit against him was a big mistake, says Neel-Smith, since he actually went out of business some time ago. "See how you might feel when your [sic] sent a BOGUS lawsuit on which you must waste time and money to defend!" writes Neel-Smith.
In my earlier column, I speculated that CitiWare's inclusion in the lawsuit was a strategy by Bedrock and its McKool Smith lawyers to maintain their preferred venue in the Eastern District of Texas.
The Recorder's Zusha Elinson has done some additional reporting that suggests that theory may be right. Elinson cites research by patent lawyer Yar Chaikovsky showing that since the Federal Circuit's TS Tech ruling in December, it's been easier for defendants to get out of East Texas when they want to—except when at least one local defendant is included in the suit. In those instances, the venue seems to stick. Elinson notes another example of a small East Texas company tangled up in venue politics: Plano-based Big Jump Media Inc., which runs Tangle.com, "a sort of Christian YouTube site that used to be called GodTube." McKool Smith is also lead counsel on the lawsuit involving Big Jump Media.
These small companies may have become "absurd pawns in the patent litigation venue-shopping game," writes Elinson. Read the full article.
Photo: J. Mullin, Longview, Texas