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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Why a small town in Texas had Samsung's ear

Welcome to Marshall, Texas. Nestled in the pine forests near the Louisiana border, the town of around 20,000 has a quaint central shopping district dotted by boutique stores. In October it hosts a party celebrating fire ants - a stinging pest that bedevils the region's man and beast. In winter, locals string decorations on their storybook local courthouse for a "Festival of Lights".
In recent years, however, Marshall has not quite been the embodiment of small-town America that it at first seems. The Festival of Lights had an ice rink sponsored by technology giant Samsung. In fact, Samsung has taken an inordinate interest in Marshall, also funding a scholarship programme at area schools and donating to local charities.
Although the fast-casual chain Applebee's is the most popular restaurant in town, the cafes near the central square offer somewhat more elaborate fare, like seared ahi tuna and Tuscan chicken.
A walk by the courthouse will often reveal something a bit out of place - like an expensive European sports car or a gaggle of dark-suited people moving faster than the rest of the populous.
What has set tiny Marshall apart is the Eastern District of Texas court, located in a drab converted post office building, which has been home to more patent copyright lawsuits in recent years than anywhere else in the United States.
More than Northern California and its patent-happy Silicon Valley technology firms. More than Delaware, the state that - thanks to its business-friendly incorporation rules - hosts headquarters for a lion's share of major US companies.
In that courthouse one man, Judge Rodney Gilstrap, has presided over a parade of companies like Apple, Microsoft, TiVo, Toshiba and the aforementioned Samsung.
Source By BBC.COM

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