Enlarge / Documents being hauled into the federal courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware, in 2004. Delaware looks to become the top venue for US patent disputes following the Supreme Court's decision in TC Heartland. (credit: Mike Mergen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

New lawsuits are down—way down—in the mostly rural district that was once the national hotspot for patent disputes.

For several years, the Eastern District of Texas hosted more patent lawsuits than any other judicial district in the country. Last year, East Texas saw more patent lawsuits filed than the next four judicial districts combined. But in May, the Supreme Court sharply limited where patent owners can choose to file their lawsuits, in a case called TC Heartland. That's leading to a sharp change in the geography of patent litigation.

Statistics published today by the IP litigation research company Lex Machina show the dramatic effect the decision has had on the litigation landscape. Lex Machina compared patent filings in the 90 days before the TC Heartland decision came down on May 22 to the 90-day period directly after the decision. What the company found is that the two top districts changed places.

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