Apple will close its stores in the Eastern District of Texas by mid-April, ending its business in that region. The decision was made so that patent infringement filings cannot be made against Apple in the district, which is something of a hotbed for such litigation.
Two Stores Close, Another One Opens
Staff at the Apple Willow Bend in Plano, Texas and Apple Stonebriar in Frisco, Texas are understood to have been told of the plans. The staff has been given the option to transfer, work from home for AppleCare, or receive a severance package. The stores will close on April 12th, with a new store opening just South of the Eastern District in the Galleria Dallas shopping mall in Dallas. That new opening could happen as early as April 13th (via MacRumors).
The move is designed to increase Apple’s protection against patent trolls. When the stores close, it will no longer be possible to bring patent infringement cases against Apple in the Eastern District of Texas. The area is well known for hearing such cases. It is likely that any such cases will now take place at U.S. district courts in Northern California and Delaware. Apple had not publicly confirmed the move at the time of this writing.