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The Day All The Patent Trolls Rushed To File New Lawsuits

Publication Date: 
May 03, 2014
Mike Masnick

Professor of Law Mark Lemley is mentioned in TechDirt for his research into the vast amount of patent cases which are heard in Delaware.

The Senate is still working on patent reform, despite the House approving it months ago. However, you can be sure that patent trolls and their lawyers have been watching the space carefully. One of the proposed amendments on the Senate side would concern fee shifting -- making the losing party have to pay the winning party's legal bills -- and in the amendment it says it would go into effect, on April 24, 2014. Even though the bill has not yet gone anywhere and the amendment may not make it, it would appear that trolls and their lawyers (often one and the same) realized that if they wanted to avoid fee shifting, they'd better get filing. And, boy, did they ever file a lot of patent infringement cases on Wednesday April 23rd: 190 cases. In case you're wondering, the day before 8 patent cases were filed.

But just that number alone might not give you enough perspective to understand this mad rush to the courts (or, well, as we'll see, one court in particular) to file patent lawsuits. The good folks over at Lex Machina have put together some data to show just how noteworthy all those patent lawsuit filings are. Here are the daily patent lawsuit filings for the first four months of 2014. Notice any particular outlier?


Oh, and if you're wondering why the district court in Delaware seems to be fairly popular too, I'm guessing some research by Mark Lemley may have something to do with that. He compared patent cases in various districts and found that, for cases that actually go to trial, Delaware had a higher win rate than East Texas. Oh, and also that a far higher percentage of patent cases actually go to trial in Delaware as well. East Texas still gets the majority of cases (by far), but Delaware has been the alternative favorite for trolls for quite some time now.