For the past two years, EFF has been pushing Congress to pass legislation to rein in patent trolls. Starting with the introduction of the Shield Act in 2012, momentum has built for patent reform. And we saw dramatic results in December of last year when the House overwhelmingly passed the Innovation Act. Since then, the ball has been in the Senate’s court. But weeks and months have gone by without a comparable bill being introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
While the Senate dawdles, patent trolls continue their rampage. A new report from legal analytics startup Lex Machina confirms that patent trolls march on. The report includes the following illuminating and disturbing statistics:
- 6092 patent lawsuits were filed in 2013, a 12.4% increase over 2012.
- Of the top ten filers of patent lawsuits in 2013, every single one was a patent troll.
- The most litigious patent owner was notorious troll ArrivalStar, which filed 137 lawsuits.
- Patent cases clustered in a handful of federal district courts, with 1495 filed in the Eastern District of Texas and 1336 in the District of Delaware (including 900 before a single Eastern District of Texas judge).
In combination with other evidence, this confirms a massive and sustained increase in patent trolling over the past five to ten years. As we predicted, 2011’s America Invents Act failed to put a dent in patent trolling. We clearly need new legislation, like the Innovation Act, that specifically targets abusive patent litigation.
With reform stalled in the Senate, we need to keep up the pressure. This week, supporters of patent reform circulated a letter signed by over 500 companies and organizations, including EFF. You can add your voice to the calls for reform. Our friends at Engine have set up an excellent call tool that allows you to call your senator. Visit fixpatents.org and call now!
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