Patent lawsuits filed by month. (credit: Lex Machina)
New patent lawsuits hit an all-time high in November, with many plaintiffs likely hoping to avoid new pleading rules that came into effect yesterday. A whopping 790 lawsuits were filed last month, with at least 212 filed on a single day: Monday, November 30.
For those who watch the patent landscape, it will come as no surprise that most of the lawsuits filed last month come courtesy of “patent trolls”—oddly named LLCs with no business other than litigation. Also no surprise: a big majority of the cases were filed in Eastern Texas.
The huge jump, and in particular the November 30 spike, is likely tied to significant changes in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for patent cases, which took effect on December 1. The changes by the Judicial Conference of the United States may require patent plaintiffs to provide more information in their lawsuits to survive a motion to dismiss. For now, the lenient “Form 18” has been eliminated in patent cases. That form allowed patent lawsuits to be filed without naming which specific claims were infringed, or naming a specific product accused of infringing. It isn’t clear what standard will replace the form.
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