Apple is closing its stores at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco and The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, the company confirmed in a statement Friday.

"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 Apple statement said. 

Employees at the Stonebriar and Willow Bend stores will be offered positions at the Galleria store or other Apple store locations, according to the company.

MacRumors, an Apple news website, reported that Apple was closing the two Collin County stores – both located in the judicial U.S. Eastern District of Texas – to protect the company from patent lawsuits.

MacRumors, citing an SMU Dedman Law School paper from 2011, noted that the Eastern District, which mostly covers East Texas but includes Collin County, has become one of the busiest in the country for patent-related litigation over the years. 

The Dedman paper provided several explanations for the high number of patent cases in the Eastern District at the time, including experienced judges, a higher level of predicability for case assignment, a speedy docket, and a lower chance of a case being transferred out of the district.