Statement of United for Patent Reform
New patent suits filed by trolls in May leapt 62.4 percent over the previous month
WASHINGTON — New data shows that the volume of patent litigation brought by trolls in the United States grew considerably during the month of May, the most recent period for which information is widely available. Lawsuits brought by non-‐practicing entities (NPE) increased 62.4 percent in May (367 cases) from April (226 cases). Contrary to claims by some patent reform opponents, overall patent litigation continues to increase, with a 45.7 percent spike in May over the prior month. This follows a continuing trend of lawsuit filings increasing in five of the last six months.
“Yet again, recent data shows that the patent litigation system is in desperate need of legislative reform,” said National Retail Federation vice president Beth Provenzano on behalf of the United for Patent Reform coalition. “The data finds that patent trolls are not slowing down and are severely harming productive businesses. We need legislation to close loopholes that encourage more frivolous patent infringement lawsuits and extortive demand letters as the latter is often aimed at small, Main Street businesses, like retail stores and restaurants. Trolls target them because they can’t afford to fight back. That must change.”
An analysis by Unified Patents found patent trolls instigated 69.8 percent of all district court cases initiated during May 2015, compared to 62.6 percent of cases the previous month and 57.9 percent in May 2014.
“Patent trolls are dominating patent court disputes because they know they can get a quick return on a small investment,” said Provenzano. “Productive companies usually have no choice but to settle rather than fight – even if they know the assertion is invalid – because the time and cost burdens of fighting off trolls threaten their ability to provide the products and services they have developed and their customers need. Congress has the power to end this abuse. Lawmakers must act now."
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United for Patent Reform is a broad coalition of diverse American businesses—from national realty, construction, and technology businesses to Main Street retail shops, hotels, grocers, convenience stores, and restaurants—pursuing comprehensive solutions to abusive patent litigation. For more information, visit www.UnitedforPatentReform.com and follow us on Twitter at @U4PatentReform.