By Jack Fink

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Some Apple customers aren’t happy to hear stores in the Willow Bend Mall in Plano and Stonebriar Mall in Frisco will close April 12.

Quinn Curtis, who lives in Plano said, “Yeah, I was disappointed because Stonebriar Mall is a famous mall for Apple and I usually go to that mall.”

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In a statement, Apple said, “We’re making a major investment in our stores in Texas, including significant upgrades to North Park Center, Southlake, and Knox Street. With a new Dallas store coming to the Dallas Galleria this April, we’ve made the decision to consolidate stores and close Apple Stonebriar and Apple Willow Bend.”

The new store at the Galleria Mall will open April 13.

Eric Davidoff lives in Dallas but works in Plano, which means he will have to change his routine. “I usually prefer to go during my lunch break but I probably would have to go in the evenings or weekends instead.”

Apple wouldn’t confirm published reports questioning whether its decision is related to a number of patent lawsuits filed against them in federal courts in the Eastern District of Texas, where its Plano and Frisco stores are located.

Chad Ray is an attorney specializing in patent law. “They’ve had dozens of cases filed against them in the Eastern District of Texas. They have had judgments against them.”

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Ray said for years, many companies filed patent lawsuits in Marshall, Texas against Apple and others because a judge there welcomed them. But the Supreme Court ruled two years ago that Apple and other companies couldn’t be sued if they aren’t incorporated or don’t have physical locations in that jurisdiction.

Ray said, “So by pulling out, they’re attempting to prevent lawsuits against them there.”

With stores in Dallas and Southlake, Apple will soon only be in the Northern District of Texas, which Ray says is less friendly to plaintiffs.

So if Apple is taking this action, what’s stopping any other company from doing the same thing?

Ray said, “Absolutely nothing, and companies probably should consider whether their operations in the Eastern District of Texas put them at risk.”

Apple said employees at its two closing stores will be offered jobs at the new store and its three other North Texas locations, including one in Fort Worth.

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The company employs 1,000 people here in North Texas, and in December, Apple announced its expanding its Austin campus by 5,000 employees.