Things got busy recently with the close of another print issue and I have committed blog-neglect; but this week TPA is officially back on track.
Our annual patent litigation survey is up. More on that later this week. I'm not giving anything away if I note that last year was the year E.D. Texas officially became the patent litigation capital of the country, with 371 patent filings in 2007.
In our survey, we measure which law firms are doing the most work; but arguably the most interesting patent data these days is about venue. I recently added a new patent blog to my reading list: the Patent Appeal Tracer, by Cleveland lawyer Kyle Fleming. Kyle has some interesting new data up today about venue in patent cases, measuring each district's patent infringement filings on a per judgeship basis. On that basis, E.D. Texas is again the leader, with 46.375 cases per judgeship, and Delaware is close behind with 41 cases per judgeship.
West Wisconsin rates third, with 25 cases per judgeship. (The Western District of Wisconsin, based in Madison, has only two judges, and pulled 50 patent cases last year.) Some observers thought W.D. Wisconsin might be the "new E.D. Texas," but the recent $3.8 million smack-down of the Plutus IP patent-holding empire might put a chill on that.
C.D. California, New Jersey, and N.D. California are in 4th, 5th, and 6th places, respectively. Take a look at the full table at PA Tracer. To me, this data further shows how extraordinary the E.D. Texas concentration is, and it's interesting that Delaware is right up there with it. Delaware, of course, is home to lots of big corporations, at least on paper, so it's not surprising that some kinds of litigation would concentrate there.
On his now-defunct Patent Troll Tracker blog, Rick Frenkel wrote that patent lawsuits actually shot way up in 2007, when you look at the number of defendants sued. He counted defendants in several popular patent venues and extrapolated to arrive at his estimate. Most of the lawyers I spoke to for our patent litigation survey backed that up (anecdotally), saying that multi-defendant lawsuits seemed way up over the previous year.