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US patent litigation back with a bang in May and June

Michael Loney

The latest US patent case filing figures from Lex Machina show a sharp increase in May and June, making filing in the second quarter of this year the highest ever observed

Lex Machina has released data on patent case filings in the US that may raise a few eyebrows. It reports that filings rose sharply in May, with 607 cases, and even further in June, with 654 cases. This made the second quarter’s overall figures of 1,656 cases filed the highest of any quarter yet observed, said Lex Machina. This was despite April’s figure of 395 cases filed being the lowest of the year so far.

The total for the first half is 3,122 cases filed, making 2015 on course to see more than 6,000 cases by the end of the year.

Lex Machina said in a blog post: “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.”

This tallies with figures released earlier this month by Unified Patents, which revealed an 11.1% increase in US district court filing in the first half of 2015. The company said 2015 is on course to see the highest number of patent litigation cases filed ever.

Lex Machina also noted some trends between the difference districts. The first half has seen a trend towards more patent cases being filed in the Eastern District of Texas, with a 166% increase in the first half of 2015 over the second half of 2014. In contrast, the District of Delaware’s proportional share of the cases has continued to decline from the second half of 2014 by more than a third.

The busiest plaintiffs in June this year include Oberalis (50 cases), Genaville (25 cases) and Broadqast Solutions LLC (22 cases), all of which filed in the Eastern District of Texas.

The figures will no doubt increase calls for patent reform. But supporters of patent legislation may be disappointed. The House of Representatives reportedly today removed the Innovation Act from the House floor consideration this summer. This means that any hope of patent reform has been put on ice until at least August.


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