2017 First Quarter Litigation Update

Lex Machina Q1 2017 Litigation Update Patent litigation District Court 938 patent cases were filed in the first quarter of 2017.  This was the lowest per-quarter filings of any quarter since 2011 Q3 (although just barely - there were 963 cases filed in Q1 of 2016).  From last year’s average of 1130 cases per quarter, Q1 is down about 17%. Despite the low volume, case filings rose month-by-month during the first quarter of 2017 (see Fig. 2), and remain within the pattern established in 2016.  Historically, the first quarter has often been lower than the year’s final average. The dramatic spike in 2015, apparent in Figure 2, was caused by the end of Form 18. Fig. 1:  Patent cases filed, 2011 - 2017 Q1, by quarter   Fig. 2:  Patent cases filed, 2014 - 2017 Q1, by month     More patent cases (33% of those filed in 2017 Q1) were filed in the Eastern District of Texas than in any other jurisdiction. The percentage of patent litigation in the Eastern District of Texas had been increasing during the course of 2016, from 30% in the first quarter to 41% in the fourth quarter. The District of Delaware remained the [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:21:15+00:00April 12th, 2017|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

2016 Fourth Quarter Litigation Update

Patent Litigation District Court In the final quarter of 2016, plaintiffs filed 1,140 patent cases, bringing the total for 2016 to 4,520 patent cases. The fourth quarter represents a slight increase over the third quarter’s 1,126 cases, but overall litigation in 2016 has declined by a moderate 22% from 2015 (when 5,823 cases were filed).  Month by month, 2016 has been relatively consistent compared to the dramatic spike in 2015 caused by the end of Form 18. Fig. 1:  Patent cases filed, 2011 - 2016, by quarter Fig. 2: Patent cases filed, 2011-2016, by year Fig. 3:  Patent cases filed, 2014 - 2016, by month The majority of patent litigation filed in 2016 (36.4% of cases) was filed in the Eastern District of Texas.  The District of Delaware remained the second most frequently used jurisdiction, with just over 10% of cases filed in 2016.   The percentage of cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas has also been increasing, from around 30% in the first quarter, to 40% in the fourth quarter of 2016. Fig. 4:  Top districts by patent cases filed in 2016 Fig. 5:  Eastern District of Texas and District of Delaware, 2014-2016 by quarter To gain [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:21:58+00:00January 12th, 2017|Legal Trends|

2016 Third Quarter Litigation Trends

Patent Litigation District Court In the third quarter of 2016, plaintiffs filed 1,127 patent cases.  This total represents an decrease over Q2 (1,289 cases) of 12.6%, but is still higher than the Q1 2016 (960 cases). Looking at the months in the second second quarter more closely (Fig. 2), September (310 cases) was slower than both July (416 cases) and August (401 cases).  Relative to the first three quarters of previous years, 2016 looks to be the slowest year since 2011 (Fig. 3). The proportion of total new filings made in the Eastern District of Texas held nearly steady in Q3 at 35.4% - down slightly from 37% in the second quarter but up from the first quarter (30%) (Fig. 5).  In 2015, for comparison, the district had 43% of the patent cases filed. Fig. 1:  Patent cases filed, 2011 - 2016 Q3, by quarter   Fig. 2:  Patent cases filed, 2014 - 2016 Q3, by month   Fig. 3: Patent cases filed, 2011-2016, Q1-Q3 only, by year   Fig. 4:  Top districts by patent cases filed, 2011-2016 Q3   Fig. 5:  Top districts by patent cases filed, 2016 Q1-Q3   To gain more insight into patent litigation, cases can [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:26:36+00:00October 11th, 2016|Legal Trends|

2016 Second Quarter IP Litigation Trends

Patent Litigation District Court In the second quarter of 2016, plaintiffs filed 1,282 patent cases.  This total represents an increase over Q1 (958 cases) of 33%, but remains below the 2015 average of 1456 cases per quarter.   Looking at the second quarter more closely (Fig. 2), more than 450 cases were filed in both April and June, while May saw only 370 cases.  Patent litigation levels appear to have stabilized after the spike-and-trough pattern (seen in November 2015 through February 2016) caused by the rule change on Form 18. The Eastern District of Texas saw an uptick in its proportion of total new filings to 37% in the second quarter of 2016 against the first quarter (30%).  In 2015, for comparison, the district had 43% of the patent cases filed.   Fig. 1:  Patent cases filed, 2012 - 2016 Q2, by quarter   Fig. 2:  Patent cases filed, 2014 - 2016 Q2, by month   Fig. 3:  Top districts by patent cases filed, 2012 - 2016 Q2   Fig. 4:  Top districts by patent cases filed, 2016 Q2     The Patent Trial and Appeal Board Covered Business Method (CBM) reviews have remained steady, but the number of Inter [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:28:56+00:00July 14th, 2016|Legal Trends|

2016 First Quarter IP Litigation Trends

Patent Litigation District Court In the first quarter of 2016, 955 patent cases were filed.  This number represents a decline from the level of litigation seen over the last few years - a quarterly low not seen since 2011.   Looking at the quarter more granularly (Fig. 2), shows that the first two months of the quarter were similar to December, while March saw an increase.  Given the spike which occurred in November, it’s possible that many of the cases which would otherwise have been filed in the months of December, January and February were shifted up into November.   The Eastern District of Texas saw a marked decrease in new filings in the first quarter of 2016.  While the district had 43% of the patent cases filed in 2015, in the first quarter of 2016 the percentage dropped to 30%   Fig. 1:  Patent cases filed, 2012 - 2016 Q1, by quarter   Fig. 2:  Patent cases filed, 2014 - 2016 Q1, by month   Fig. 3:  Top districts by patent cases filed, 2012 - 2016 Q1   Fig. 4:  Top districts by patent cases filed, 2016 Q1     The Patent Trial and Appeal Board The first quarter [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:29:19+00:00April 13th, 2016|Legal Trends|

Lex Machina 2015 End-of-Year Trends

Patent Litigation District Court Patent litigation in U.S. district courts grew in 2015 with 5,830 patent cases filed, a 15.0% rise from 2014 (5,070 cases).  Except for 2013, which remains the high-water year  for patent litigation (6,114 cases), 2015 surpassed all other previous years. Fig. 1:  Patent cases filed, 2009-2015 While the increase from 2014 was already apparent by Q3, the last quarter of 2015 showed a rise in case filings over Q3, a pattern not seen since 2012.  The 1,577 cases filed in Q4 2015 represent a 41.2% rise from Q3 - the strongest quarter-over-quarter rise in the last ten years. Fig. 2:  Patent cases filed, 2012-2015, by quarter The distribution of patent cases among district courts remains highly uneven.  The Eastern District of Texas received 2,540 cases comprising 43.6% of all cases filed in 2015 - a higher percentage than the combined total for all districts below the top 3 (41.9%).  The next busiest district, the District of Delaware, saw less than 10% of the cases filed in 2015.   Fig. 3:  Patent cases filed in 2015, by district The trend towards filing cases in Eastern Texas accelerated in Q4 of 2015.  Although Delaware saw its second quarter-over-quarter [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:30:41+00:00January 7th, 2016|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

Spike in Patent Case Filings Corresponding to End of Form 18

Lex Machina’s data shows 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, a record 259 patent cases were filed. The change, recommended by the Federal Rules Advisory Committee and adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court, became effective in the absence of Congressional action on December 1, 2015. Fig. 1:  November and December, 2015   Form 18 provides a simple form for pleading the facts of a direct infringement patent case.  Using Form 18 generally guaranteed plaintiffs would survive a motion to dismiss for lack of facts, despite the fact that Form 18 did not require identifying an infringed patent or even an accused product.  The abolishment of Form 18 has generally been perceived to raise the pleading standard, although the exact parameters of what now suffices are still not entirely clear. The 259 cases filed on November 30, 2015 set a new record, exceeding the old record of 200 cases filed on April 23, 2014, correlating with legislative rumors of patent reform.  There is no historic pattern which would otherwise explain this spike. Fig. 2: [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:31:05+00:00January 6th, 2016|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

Q3 2015 IP Filing Trends

Patent Litigation Patent litigation in the U.S. district courts dropped in the third quarter of 2015:  only 1,119 cases were filed in Q3, a 33% drop from the record-setting 1,665 cases filed in the second quarter.   Fig. 1:  Patent cases filed, 2012-2015   Compared to previous years, each through its third quarter, 2015’s patent case filings represents an increase from 2014 but do not quite reach the levels seen in 2013. Fig. 2: Patent cases filed, by Q1-Q3 of year, 2012-2015   Examining trends among the top five districts (by 2015 patent case filings) shows that the Q3 drop off is driven in large part by the Eastern District of Texas.  The Eastern District saw a nearly 50% drop from its record peak in Q2 (839 cases) down to 435 cases in Q3 2015. Patent case filings in the District of Delaware increased in Q3 by 38% (from 100 in Q2 to 138 in Q3).  This increase is the first quarter-to-quarter increase for the District of Delaware since early 2013. Fig. 3: Patent case filed in top districts, 2012-2015   Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Petitions Petitions to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) have decreased in Q3 [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:37:50+00:00October 9th, 2015|Legal Trends|

Lex Machina Publishes Copyright Litigation Report

Lex Machina is pleased to announce the publication today of the first-ever comprehensive study of U.S. copyright litigation. The Lex Machina Copyright Litigation Report breaks down the thousands of copyright cases filed in the last 5 years to showcase how this data can be used to inform litigation strategy: from detailed analysis of different judicial districts useful to forum planning, to timing data on trial and injunctions that can drastically improve budgeting, as well as top parties and firms for firm marketing and outside counsel selection. This post provides a sneak-peek at one of the most significant findings of the report:  the rise of mass litigation against Doe defendants for file sharing. As anyone who has ever done legal research knows, a good search eliminates noise leaving one to focus on the relevant portion of the results.  When it comes to copyright litigation, Lex Machina’s platform makes this easy: our automated processes separate copyright litigation by identifying anonymous internet file sharing allegations and tagging those cases, allowing users to easily include or exclude them with a single click. As the figures below show, file sharing cases comprise a significant and increasing proportion of the copyright cases filed over the last 4 [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:38:12+00:00August 11th, 2015|Legal Trends, Reports|

2015 First Half Patent Case Filing Trends

2015 First Half Patent Case Filing Trends Patent case filings rose sharply in May (607 cases) and June (654 cases) of 2015, leaving the total for the Q2 2015 as the highest of any quarter yet observed (1,656 cases, as shown in Figure 2 below).  The H1 total for 2015 is 3,122, putting 2015 on track to exceed 6,000 cases by year's end.   Fig 1:  Patent cases filed Jan 2014 through June 2015 (2015 in orange)   Fig 2: Patent cases filed January 2011 - June 2015 (by quarters) As a whole, the filing rates of 2015 appears to be more like those of 2013.  The rise in June, however, is unexpected, as previous years tended to dip down from spring towards summer. Fig. 3:  Patent cases filed by month, 2013-2015, stacked years Compared to the half of 2014 (July through December), the spring trend towards more patent cases being filed in the Eastern District of Texas has continued and accelerated - a 166% increase in H1 2015 over H2 2014.  On the other hand, the District of Delaware’s proportional share of the cases has continued to decline from the latter part of 2014 by more than a third. Fig [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:38:35+00:00July 14th, 2015|Legal Trends|