WASHINGTON — The following statement can be attributed to Beth Provenzano, speaking on behalf of the United for Patent Reform coalition on legal analytics firm Lex Machina’s second annual “Patent Litigation Year in Review” report:
“Once again, Lex Machina’s report paints a picture of a patent litigation system urgently in need of legislative reform.” said Provenzano. “The data finds that patent trolls continue to sue productive businesses at a historic rate. The majority of victims are small businesses that patent trolls target because they can least afford to fight back. Patent trolls are looking for quick settlements and know small businesses are more likely to accept those.”
“Last year saw twice as many patent lawsuits filed as were filed in 2009, the majority by Non-Practicing Entities,” Provenzano continued. “These lawsuits are not filed for the benefit of innovation or inventors. They are filed to enrich a tiny number of patent lawyers gaming a broken system to extort money from hard working small business owners. Congress must put a stop to this by passing a strong patent litigation reform bill.”
The report also noted that the U.S. Supreme Court chose to take up six more patent cases in 2014, and continued its multi-year trend of patent rulings— nearly all unanimous—aimed at correcting obvious imbalances in the patent litigation system.
According to the report the decline in lawsuits after the Supreme Court’s Alice was only temporary. Patent lawsuit filings spiked upwards over 30 percent in December 2014, and in January filings were up 36 percent compared to the same month last year. Lawsuit filings in February are also up.
“The Supreme Court cannot fix the patent system on its own,” said Provenzano. “Our representatives in Congress need to pass legislation to end the abuse of the patent system now.”