The year’s top patent troll? ArrivalStar, which became a patent troll pioneer by suing public transit agencies, including King County Metro in Seattle.

Atomic Taco / flickr

A new report on the state of patent litigation in the US shows that patent lawsuits appear to be more numerous—and more concentrated—than ever before.
The report by patent analysis firm Lex Machina shows that a big chunk of the 6,092 patent lawsuits filed last year came from a few entities. Unsurprisingly, the companies responsible for the most patent lawsuits are all “patent trolls,” that is, entities with no business outside licensing and litigating patents. Terms for these companies seem to be proliferating, and Lex Machina uses one of the more diplomatic alternatives, calling them “patent monetization entities” or PMEs.

Lex Machina

The number of lawsuits jumped 12.4 percent over 2012, which saw 5,418 new cases filed. That’s the largest number of lawsuits ever filed in a year, but some of that rise is due to rule changes about how many defendants can be in a single lawsuit. Using another system of counting, which accounts for those rule changes, last year was the second-highest ever. The most litigious year overall remains 2011, when plaintiffs were rushing to file before the new America Invents Act rules took effect.
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