pdf-iconLex Machina is proud to announce our third annual Patent Litigation Year in Review.  

This blog post looks closely at some of the key case filing and jurisdictional figures included in the report.  For a complete copy of the report, please click here.



Fig 1 - A2.2 2005-2014 Year.eps


Fig. 1:  New cases filed, 2007-2015, by year

In 2015, 5,819 patent cases were filed – a 15% rise from 2014. However, the 2015 total does not exceed the record year of 2013 when 6,113 patent cases were filed.

Fig 2 - A2 - 2005-2014

Fig. 2:  New cases filed, 2007-2015, by month

Cases were filed unevenly throughout the 2015. The hottest month was November, when 845 new cases were filed – a new record month. In particular, there was a spike in case filings on November 30, 2015, corresponding to a rule change that eliminates Form 18, the form often used to plead direct infringement claims in patent cases. On that day, 259 patent cases were filed – a single-day record.  However, December was unusually low – per month case filings have not dropped below 300 since mid-2011.

Fig 3 - District pie

Fig. 3:  New cases in 2015, by district

The Eastern District of Texas continues to lead the nation by number of new cases filed in 2015 – 1,427 cases were filed there in 2015, representing a 78% increase over the district’s 2014 total (the largest percentage gain of any district over last year).

The Eastern District of Texas saw 43.7% of the cases filed in 2015. For comparison, Delaware, the next most popular district, saw less than 10%. The Eastern District share is more than the combined totals for all districts other than the top 3 (E.D.Tex., D.Del., and C.D.Cal.).


Fig 4 - B6 - plaintiff classes copy

Fig. 4: New cases in D. Del. and E.D.Tex., by year and plaintiff volume class

Much of the recent increase in litigation in E.D.Tex. stems from high-volume plaintiffs, or plaintiffs who have filed at least 10 cases within a year.  These plaintiffs, shown in blue below, drive most of the variability or volatility in the case filings, both over time and between districts.