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Patent Litigation on the Rise Again

After a short-lived dip in 2014, legal cases over patent infringement allegations again are on the rise, according to an analysis by Unified Patents, an advocacy organization aimed at deterring frivolous patent litigation. Research identifies 1,443 patent litigation filings in the first quarter of this year. At this rate, calendar year 2015 could see upward of 5,772 filings - a 15-percent increase over 2014.

Such patents have fluctuated in recent years, with a record high of 6,000 filings reported in 2013, followed by a dip to 5,002 last year. Among the reasons is the US Supreme Court case Alice v CLS Corp., centered on a years-long debate over whether an abstract idea is patentable. The court held that a computer program created simply to apply an abstract idea and add nothing else lacks the necessary originality for a patent.

Many legal experts expected that the court's decision would curb the number of patent claims, and for a short period, it appeared they were right. But the first-quarter 2015 surge shows a decidedly different trend going forward.

Another factor in the rise could be the US Patent and Trademark Office's launch of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, an administrative law panel established by the 2012 America Invents Act. The board allows defendants to ask for a pre-litigation review of a patent's eligibility. If the PTAB deems a patent invalid, a claim is terminated. The board's activity doubled in 2014, meaning that many of the cases reviewed never make it to litigation.

If you believe that your patent is being infringed upon or that you are being wrongfully accused of infringement, contact Daniel Law Offices at 1-866-37PATENT. 

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