Apple has recently come out with an announcement that it plans to close down shop in the heart of the eastern districts of Texas. This decision will help Apple to protect its intellectual property in a more secure away, as the retail stores in East Texas were previously at risk as that region is notorious for hosting a sizeable chunk of the patent trolls in the US.
Apple will now be in a better position to protect its assets from patent infringement lawsuits, once the retail stores close down permanently. This latest news was broken by prominent Apple news sites 9to5Mac and MacRumors. Apple has also planned to offer new jobs to the employees who will be affected by this closure.
The company has plans to close the Apple Willow Bend store as well as the Apple Stonebriar store in the eastern districts of Texas. The stores will operate until the 12th of April, after which it will permanently close down. Apple will also open a new store on the 13th of April which is located at the Galleria Dallas Shopping Mall, and this store will start serving the customers who will be affected the April 12 closures of 2 retail outlets of Apple.
Apple is known for having little to no downtime between the shifting of retail stores, and most closures are usually related to store renovations or other reasons. But, in this instance, the company is trying to escape patent infringement lawsuits with its store transition.
The eastern part of Texas is notorious for patent lawsuits, where trolls file their lawsuits because the defendant committed the infringement in that location. This malpractice and the exploitation of the judicial system is being cracked down upon by the Supreme Court which hopes to stop this from happening with its recent ruling. The Supreme Court has ruled that patent holders from now could no longer decide where to file their lawsuits.
Apple in recent years have fallen victim to patent trolls, and the company had to pay large sums of money due to these lawsuits. Back in 2016, the company had to pay $625.6 million to the firm VirnetX, which claimed to hold a patent of Apple. Even more recently, the iPhone maker had to pay $502.6 million to a patent troll over four communication patents.
VirnetX is referred to as a patent troll as it earns most of its money through lawsuits. This company has a history of suing tech companies, and besides Apple, they filed a lawsuit against Microsoft over its patents from Skype, and recently the company has started litigation proceedings against Cisco. Due to the court rulings going in favor of VirnetX, people inside the tech industry are asking the government to introduce reforms to US patent laws to make it tougher for patent trolls to take advantage of the system.
Apple’s plans to close down its retail stores could have impacted the employees in that region in an adverse manner, had the company not offered newer jobs to the affected individuals.
Currently, Apple employs more than 1000 people in the Dallas region, and the employment numbers have jumped by 33 percent in the last 5 years due to this company. The MacBook maker has also invested around $30 million in this region to open up new retail stores in the area.