Right now, there is a giant smile firmly planted on the face of David Folsom (pictured, left), chief judge of the Eastern District of Texas, and I’ll let him tell you why: “I informally swore the oath to Rodney Gilstrap,” (pictured, right) he says of the new U.S. district judge for the Eastern District’s Marshall Division, a jurisdiction known nationally for its busy patent docket. And it’s also known as the docket built by former U.S. District Judge T. John Ward. Ward long ago advocated for streamlined patent rules, which then brought cases streaming onto his docket. When Ward left the bench in October, Folsom took over the hundreds of patent infringement cases that Ward left behind. And yesterday, Folsom says, he signed an order officially reassigning those cases to Gilstrap, Ward’s replacement. “And I sent all of those Ward cases back to him,’’ Folsom says. “That’s why I’m in a good mood today. It’s a good mood for Rodney, a good mood for the district and a good mood for me personally.” Gilstrap didn’t immediately return a call for comment — and I can understand why.
— John Council