This post is written by Yoon Chae, an Associate of Baker & McKenzie
*Disclaimer: This article represents the opinion of Yoon Chae as an individual and not of Baker & McKenzie as a firm.
For a patent attorney, working in a city exposed to diverse patent infringement lawsuits and technology sectors is a dream come true because of the abundant professional and business development opportunities. Dallas is just that. It is a metropolis with a plethora of patent prosecution and litigation activities, the two key fields of patent law. And recent developments in the technology industry, government, and courts have further contributed to Dallas becoming one of the best cities for patent professionals.
Dallas’ reputation for abundant prosecution work continues to rise. In 2011, the number of patent applications filed by Texas entities reached a new high of 16,568, placing Texas second only to California for number of patent applications filed. Dallas was ranked the ninth most innovative city in the U.S. in 2012. This upward trend will continue in light of rapid growth in Dallas’ technology sectors.
As of 2011, Dallas is among the most significant high-tech business centers in the country, with over 3,000 technology companies and nearly 230,000 high-tech employees, second only to California’s Silicon Valley. Dallas is also home to diverse tech companies, ranging from wireless communications, semiconductors, software, defense, and emerging technologies. And it is not done growing. Dallas is the third fastest growing city in the United States behind its two sister Texan cities, Austin and Houston. Its robust labor market, low unemployment, and business-friendly regulatory environment continue to attract more inventors and businesses.
The presence of such a substantial technology community, along with availability of many local patent attorneys, even led to a recent decision by United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) to open a satellite office in Dallas. USPTO Director David Kappos commented that Dallas-Fort Worth “sprang off the page” as an ideal city for a satellite office.
The opening of the satellite office in downtown Dallas will, in turn, bolster the city’s patent industry. Inventors and attorneys will be able to better communicate with examiners through in-person interviews and high-end videoconferencing, have better access to USPTO search experts, and be able to locally file paper documents. These benefits will likely increase the number of patent applications filed and resulting commercialization. It is also expected to inspire further conversation and cooperation among businesses, academia, the city, and the IP legal community on better educating the inventor and investor communities. Such increased awareness and education will facilitate higher quality patent filing activities in Dallas.
On the litigation front, Dallas is already well-known for its ties to the Eastern District of Texas, which retained its top spot as the most popular place to file patent lawsuits in the country last year. Based in Tyler, Texas, and partially covering the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Eastern District saw 1,266 patent cases filed in 2012, up from 418 cases filed in 2011. Experts foresee this number further rising in the next few years. The Eastern District continues to be the most favorable forum for patent holders.
The Northern District of Texas, which includes the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is also expected to play a more significant role in Dallas’ patent litigation activities. It already saw an 18 percent increase in patent cases filed in 2012, and this number is projected to significantly rise in 2013 now that three judges have committed to focusing more time and expertise on intellectual property disputes. Further, in 2011, U.S. District Judges Lynn, Godbey, and Kinkeade enacted local court rules designed to resolve patent infringement cases faster and cheaper. Popularity of both Districts makes Dallas an ideal location for patent litigators.
Robust presence of even one of patent prosecution and litigation activities is hard to find in a single city. This makes Dallas, a city blessed with both, an immensely exciting place for patent practitioners.
 Top 5: U.S. States by Patent Applications, Article One (December 9, 2011), http://info.articleonepartners.com/top-5-u-s-states-by-patent-applications.
 See Top 5: U.S. States by Patent Applications, supra note 1.
 Innovation Cities Americas Index, Innovation Cities (February 27, 2013), http://www.innovation-cities.com/innovation-cities-americas-index-2012/7241
 Bill Sproull, How the Dallas-Fort Worth Tech Sector Has Roared Back, D Magazine (January 1, 2011), http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/D_CEO/2011/January_February/Technology_Issue/How_Dallas_Fort_Worth_Telecom_Has_Roared_Back.aspx.
 Morgan Brennan, America’s Fastest Growing Cities, Forbes (January 23, 2013), http://www.forbes.com/sites/morganbrennan/2013/01/23/americas-fastest-growing-cities.
 Hilda C. Galvan, USPTO Opens Office in Dallas, A Boon for Innovation, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (August 14, 2012),http://www.metrocorpcounsel.com/articles/20132/uspto-opens-office-dallas-boon-innovation.
 Three New USPTO Satellite Offices: Denver, Dallas, and San Jose, PatentlyO (July 1, 2012), http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2012/07/three-new-uspto-satellite-offices-denver-dallas-and-san-jose.html.
 See Galvan, supra note 9.
 Jeff Bounds, Texas’ Eastern District was U.S. Patent Suit King in 2012, Dallas Business Journal (February 13, 2013), http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/blog/2013/02/eastern-district-was-us-patent-suit.html.
 Mark Curriden, Patent lawsuits skyrocket in Texas, The Dallas Morning News (February 12, 2013), http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20130212-patent-lawsuits-skyrocket-in-texas.ece.
 See Bounds, supra note 14.
 See Curriden, supra note 15.
 See Curriden, supra note 15.