I am pretty sure that filing a patent case is not novel and, therefore, is not patentable. That is too bad because the volume of new cases in 2014 suggests that such a patent would have been very profitable (I’m always a day late…). A new study from Docket Navigator includes some interesting statistics about patent litigation in 2014 (the full study is located here); below are some of the facts I found most interesting:

  • Including both District Court and Patent Trial and Appeal (“PTAB”) proceedings, the combined number of new patent dispute proceedings dropped 3% in 2014 (recognizing that some matters may have new filings in both venues).
  • The number of new District Court case filings decreased 18% – from 6,107 in 2013 to 5,020 in 2014.
  • The number of new Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) proceedings increased 112% – from 792 in 2013 to 1,677 in 2014;
    • Some of these proceedings may be related to District Court filings in prior years.
  • Taken together, the trends indicate that the new proceedings instituted as part of the America Invents Act are changing how patent infringement is adjudicated.
  • Samsung was the most frequently alleged infringer; it was named as a defendant 109 times, more than twice the number of cases filed against the second most frequent defendant (Apple – with 47 suits against).
  • Technology and cell phone companies are frequent targets of infringement suits with household names Amazon, Google, Microsoft, LG, AT&T, HP, Verizon, Motorola, Cisco, Dell, T-Mobile and Sony all appearing on the most accused list.
  • The patent generating the most infringement claims was U.S. Patent #6,266,674 “Random Access Information Retrieval Utilizing User-Defined Labels” (click here to review). The first five readers (GBQ employees and family members excluded) who identify a product that allegedly infringes this patent wins a $10 Starbucks gift card – submit your answer in the comment box below.)
  • The Eastern District of Texas remains the most popular venue for patent cases – 1,436 new cases (28.6% of the total) were filed there.
  • The Eastern District of Virginia is the fastest court – cases from 2008 to 2014 that reached trial did so in an average of 514 days – significantly faster than the national average of 1,224.3 days (more than 3 years).
  • The Northern District of Illinois is the slowest court – cases there took 2,026 days (about 5½ years) to reach trial.

What do you think? Will the recent trend toward PTAB actions continue? What trends do you think will impact patent litigation in the year ahead? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.


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