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A Slow Year For Patent Litigation

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February 12, 2018

A measly 981 patent infringement cases were filed in U.S. district courts during the last quarter of 2017. The 4,057 patent lawsuits filed for the year was the lowest total for an entire year since 2011. Lex Machina data scientist Brian Howard noted that it may be appropriate to view current patent lawsuit filing levels as a “new normal,” but the year did see one dramatic change. Through the first six months, more than half of all filings were in the Eastern District of Texas, which was commensurate with previous years. After May 2017, more suits began to be filed in the District of Delaware. This was due to the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, a case which redefined the meaning of the legal statute regarding proper venue in patent infringement cases.

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