You won’t find a lot of coverage in the news, but we’re in the midst of a surprising and sharp drop in new patent lawsuits.
*Reference line at 322 cases, representing January 2014 level.
That’s contrary to everything legislators have been hearing in Washington about an “explosion’’ of patent litigation suffocating productive enterprise and Congress needing to rush to pass additional patent system and patent litigation reforms.
New data compiled by Lex Machina, and updated by Gene Quinn of IP Watchdog, casts doubt on the whole notion that reforms are necessary. According to the data, the number of new patent cases filed in January and February of 2014 was about 25 percent lower than for the same two months last year. Only 322 new lawsuits were filed this January, a 34.3 percent drop from January 2013 and the lowest number since October 2011. The number of lawsuits rebounded somewhat in February, but it was still 16.8 percent lower than in February 2013.
Granted, two swallows don’t make a spring. But there are sound reasons to think these numbers are significant, as we’ll explain in a moment. At the very least, data over the past few years confirms what we and others have been saying for a long time: The much-bemoaned “explosion” in patent litigation is a fairy tale.Read the full story »