Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Patent Litigation Sinking for 2009

According to Stanford Law School's IP Litigation Clearinghouse, patent litigation dropped by 8% in 2008 (2,605 cases were filed). This is not unusual, considering that patent litigation has been dropping slightly each year since the 2004-05 peak. What is remarkable however, is that when you look at the last five months of 2008 (i.e. "the meltdown"), filings dove 23% compared to the same period one year earlier. Also, the average number of defendants in patent infringement cases last year dropped back to two following a record average of three per case in 2007. Typically, filings from July 31 to the end of the year tick up 2%, according to Stanford's data.

What does this mean? Impossible to say at this point. The obvious culprit is the economy and legal costs, along with other factors like increased ITC filings and district court delays. In the Central District of California, 2008 filings plummeted by nearly 39% from 2007 to 198, according to the Stanford Clearinghouse. In the Eastern District of Texas, filings dropped by 21% during that same time frame to 291.

See, National Law Journal, "Patent Infringement Filings Take a Nosedive" (link)

But See, Joe Mullin's article "Will the ITC Become the New Troll Hangout?" (link)

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