Apple is planning to shut down its two stores in the Eastern District of Texas in order to avoid patent troll lawsuits, according to a new report from MacRumors.
As MacRumors notes, the Eastern District of Texas is known for its patent cases (an SMU Dedman School of Law paper backs up that claim), and per US law, patent lawsuits can be filed in places where the defendant “has a regular and established place of business.” By closing its two stores in the district, Apple reportedly hopes to shield itself from those suits.
The Apple Willow Bend store in Plano and the Apple Stonebriar store in Frisco are both expected to close up shop on April 12th. Apple is planning to open a new store at the Galleria Dallas shopping mall just outside of the Eastern District border to continue to have a retail presence in the area.
It’s a seemingly drastic move on Apple’s part to shield itself from lawsuits, but considering that these lawsuits can carry price tags of over half a billion dollars for the company, it’s easy to see why Apple would be willing to do whatever it can to avoid them.
Update February 22nd, 4:15pm: Apple has confirmed to TechCrunch that it will be closing the stores in the future, as well as the fact that the company will be offered new jobs within the company to employees impacted by these changes, although it has yet to comment on the rational behind the closing or when they will occur.