Plaintiffs filed 329 new federal patent cases in September 2014, a 40% decrease from the 549 cases filed in September 2013.
After reaching a record high of 675 new cases filed in April 2014, filings over the last five months have tailed off significantly (see Figure 1).
Month-over-month comparisons of 2014 and 2013 reveals lower 2014 monthly totals since May (see Figure 2).
Since 2011, new filings have generally decreased during the summer and increased towards the end of the year, but filings this year have not so far shown any sign of bouncing back upwards (Figure 3).
Although three months of 2014 remain, it is interesting to see the timing of 2014’s drop against the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s consideration of Alice v. CLS Bank, which was decided in June (Figure 4).
Stanford Law Professor Mark Lemley, a patent litigator at Durie Tangri and a founder of Lex Machina, said that he thought more patentees were deciding not to file suit after Alice: “In the last two months, we’ve seen over a dozen decisions invalidating software and business method patents on the basis of Alice. That’s a pretty strong deterrent to software plaintiffs whose patent isn’t directed to specific new computer technology.”
Fig 1: New Patent Case Filings by Month, 2011-2014
Fig. 2 New Patent Case Filings by Month, 2013 and 2014, Compared Month-Over-Month
Fig. 3: Annual New Patent Case Filings by Month, 2011-2014
Fig 4: New Patent Case Filings by Month, 2013 and 2014