One judge turned Waco, Texas into the go-to city for Big Tech patent lawsuits, with nearly 800 cases in the past year, and no end in sight


Almost 800 patent lawsuits were filed with Judge Alan Albright last year, a fifth of the nation’s total.

  • Almost one in five patent cases filed in the US last year went to a new judge in Waco, near Austin.
  • “Patent trolls” love Judge Alan Albright’s speedy procedures, and everyone admires his patent savvy.
  • A Waco jury recently awarded a Fortress entity $2.2 billion in a dispute with Intel. See more stories on Insider’s business page.

    It’s hard to find a lawyer who doesn’t like Judge Alan Albright, the new federal judge in Waco, Texas. Even those who have previously sparred with him in the courtroom.

    “He’s kind of one of these folksy, got-along-with-the-jury kind of lawyers,” said Erich Spangenberg, an attorney and businessman who sued a company that Albright, before becoming a judge, was defending. “I wanted not to like him, but I couldn’t.” After the trial, which Spangenberg won, he and Albright went out for beers.

    But the lovefest stops when Big Tech companies want the patent lawsuits filed against them removed from Albright’s Waco courthouse.

    Last year, Adobe accused Albright of engaging in “sheer speculation” when he held onto a case against it instead of sending it to a San Francisco court. Apple accused him – by name, instead of saying “the district court,” a deferential euphemism most lawyers use – of encouraging its adversaries to “judge-shop.” Intel said he was “rushing to trial” in a pandemic. Higher-court judges have sometimes agreed. In February, a panel of judges from the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals said Albright showed a “blatant disregard for precedent” by letting a transfer motion languish for eight months.

    Albright doesn’t seem to mind. Having been a trial lawyer, he understands that you sometimes have to go all-out for a client. “There’s not a single appellate brief of something I’ve done that doesn’t criticize what I did,” he told Insider. “So I don’t read any of that stuff.”