Patent Suit Filings for 2010 Show a Slight Rise

By Jason Rantanen

Patstats.org, coordinated by Professor Paul Janicke of the University of Houston Law Center, recently released its analysis of patent suit filings for calendar year 2010.  Patstats reports that although the total number of patent cases filed in 2010 was 3,605 – significantly higher than the 2,744 cases filed in 2009 – much of that increase can explained by the 752 false marking cases filed in 2010.  If the false marking cases are excluded, the increase is closer to 4%.  Professor Janicke was kind enough to provide a set of historical data for context, which I used as the basis for the below graph.

Patent Suit Filings 1990-2010
Note that this chart only shows false marking cases for 2010, and thus assumes that there were not high numbers of false marking cases in previous years (for support of this assumption, see http://www.grayonclaims.com/false-marking-case-information/).  For additional analysis of patent suit filing data, as well as other interesting and useful statistics relating to patent litigation, see www.patstats.org.

24 thoughts on “Patent Suit Filings for 2010 Show a Slight Rise

  1. I’m with Max as well on this, Dennis.

    PatentlyO now feels more like a cross between the great industry blog it was … and AOL.

    I find myself deciding if I even want to bother reading the usually worthwhile comments … on a posting-by-posting basis.

    It’s harder to use … and those darn, space-wasting, Internet 2000, less-professional boxed-icons.

    Ugh.

  2. ping, try Googling “Maurice Klee, patent attorney” whose name i noted as attorney on the Declaration Form of a US utility patent application for a biotech case that has moved on into the EPO. Although Mr Klee practises out of an office in Connecticut, up comes Parker & Parker, an Indian patent firm. I wonder, if one engages Mr Klee, does the work get done in India?

  3. Thatta be great if the data, or the story was about India. But thanks for that commercial break.

    Now back to the show…

  4. Its true that more and more companies and inventors are getting sued nowadays….This causes the companies who have got sued, ending up losing large sum of money….Recently i happened to come across an article titled “Request for Examination of a patent application – a mandatory requirement in India” which describes in detail about the need of request for examination of a patent application in India. Have a look at the mentioned article at “http://www.sinapseblog.com/2011/01/request-for-examination-of-patent.html”. This kind of articles will definitely help people in clearing their doubts in proceeding with obtaining a patent for their invention.

  5. Dennis, I am not getting used to the new format for comments. Frankly, I do not like it. I no longer enjoy reading the threads (are they “threads” any more?), and so have lost interest in contributing to them.

  6. Like many patent attorneys I have been following some of the false-marking cases filed over the past year or so. It appears that a number of the plaintiffs in those cases may be solo practicioners. The attorney forms a corporation in order to file the lawsuit, and the attorney (an officer of the corporation) represents the corporation. Although, I have not been involved in such a case, it would seem that one strategy a defendant may consider is to have plaintiff’s attorney somehow disqualified. More specifically, the defendant could depose the plaintiff corporation under
    30(b)(6) and inquire at a minimum about the allegations in the complaint.
    The strategy would be to get enough testimony so that the attorney would be called as a witness at trial. If the attorney is then a witness, the defendant may be able to disqualify the plaintiff’s attorney at least from trying the case. Has anyone tried this as a strategy in a false-marking case? If so, I would be interested in hearing about it.

  7. Yes, because guessing is what we want all academics to be doin when talkin about patent stuff…

    Another Nazgul moment for ya, my main man.

  8. So what if it is? There shouldn’t be a suit in the first instance, they’re just an extra one on top of all the suits that would otherwise be there.

  9. With my improved patent reforn these cases could be simplified or eliminated and time to trial could be drastically reduced.

  10. Funny! I think the numbers were 7 on Wed, 9 on Thurs, and only 2 on Fri.

    The 2 on Fri must have actually been Thurs filings, filed after midnight.

    Speaking of ambulance chasers, they will do anything for $. I know one who is now defending private parties against, among other things, a civil conspiracy charge involving an elected official and review of a development application.

    To the best of my knowledge, the ambulance chaser has no expertise in such matters–but what the heck, they’re licensed in federal court, so they obviously meet the “minimum standard” to provide effective representation.

  11. Figuring out the number of patents in force for a given year might be somewhat tricky,

    Does the PTO not have relevant statistics lying around somewhere?

    If you want a guesstimate, you can sum the issued patents over the previous 17 years, weighted by the percentage of maintenance fees paid at all applicable intervals.

  12. Here’s one – put 6 to work. That way he can stop embarrassing himself by spendin time tryin to make friends at techdirt and slashdot.

    And 6 – doncha know that the trend for those types O suits is to file less and name more (aimin for divirsity jurisdiction)? Way too many hooves to the head for ya.

  13. Ping – I think your suggestion to normalize the numbers in relation to the number of patents in force each year is an excellent one. Figuring out the number of patents in force for a given year might be somewhat tricky, though, especially since patents don’t list their expiration dates on their face (plus the added complication of maintenance fees). If you have any ideas, I’m happy to hear them, and I’ll think on the problem as well.

  14. “As is – any explanation for the rise is speculative (although the assumption on the false marking cases is plausible).”

    O rly? Software patents/business method patents say what? It doesn’t take a rocket genius to read these numbers.

  15. Apparently, of 49 total patent-related complaints filed on Wed, Thurs, and Fri, 18 were qui-tam suits by Patent Group–more than one-third of the total.

    Although 3 days of data is obviously not representative, it looks like the trend will continue.

  16. And it occurs to me that false marking cases need to be treated differently anyway as they are generally geared to patents no longer in force.

  17. This data might be more meaningful if the numbers shown were normalized by the number of patents in force for each year. That picture just might show that the tendency to litigate may actually show a decreasing trend (and wouldn’t that be a hoot).

    As is – any explanation for the rise is speculative (although the assumption on the false marking cases is plausible).

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