Patexia Insight 74: Patents increased by 16% and litigation by 2% but IPR dropped by 20% in 2019
Happy New Year! This morning, we released our first ITC Intelligence Report, where we looked at more than 7,000 attorneys, 400 law firms and 1,600 companies, measured their performance and activity over the last six years. In 2020, we plan to expand our Insight offerings with two new reports: Patent Litigation and Patent Transaction Intelligence.
In 2019 we observed some new trends. While we saw a big rise in the number of issued US patents, IPR had a big decline. District Court and ITC litigation remained almost unchanged. In terms of litigation venue, Delaware District Court maintained its first place (after PTAB).
In 2019, a total of 392,617 patents issued by USPTO. This is about 16 percent jump compared to 339,335 patents issued in 2018 and is the highest number of issued patents ever. In 2018, for the first time, we saw a small dip in the number of issued patents. But 2019 numbers may show that the dip was only temporary.
In terms of utility patents, again we saw a big jump in 2019. A total of 355,922 utility patents issued last year, compared to 307,560 in 2018. This reflects a 16 percent increase.
In patent litigation, we saw a small increase in district court cases in 2019. Since 2015, the number of cases filed in US district courts has been declining every year. In 2015, a total of 5,874 cases were filed compared to 3,587 cases in 2019. While the activity in 2019 is substantially lower than 2015 (almost 40%), the number reflects a two percent increase compared to 2018. We will continue to monitor the filing activity to see if this increase will continue further in 2020.
IPR activity saw a sharp decline in 2019. As we had indicated in our previous Patexia Insight articles, IPRs follow the US district court trends with a 12 to 18 month delay. So we were expecting a decline in activity. In 2019, a total of 1,260 IPR cases were filed before the PTAB. This shows a decline of about 22 percent compared to 2018.
Since district court activity has almost been flat in 2018 and 2019, we expect IPR activity rto remain about the same in 2020 (i.e., in the 1,200 to 1,300 range).
As for ITC Section 337 cases, the activity saw a small decline. A total of 47 cases filed in 2019, compared to 52 cases in 2018. Our comprehensive analysis of all stakeholders including attorneys, judges, law firms and companies (complainants and respondents) are covered in the first ITC Intelligence Report we released this morning. This report is intended to help companies choose the best counsel for their ITC cases as backed by their performance numbers.
In terms of popular venues for patent litigation, PTAB is still the number one venue overall, but when it comes to district courts, there have been some changes. With TC Hartland rulings and limitations on venue shopping for patent cases, Delaware maintained its top position with a total of 842 cases, followed by California Central and California Northern District Courts with 373 and 364 cases, respectively.
Last year we published two IP Intelligence Reports: IPR and Patent Prosecution. Because of the positive feedback from companies and their needs, we plan to expand our offerings. This year, we started the year with the new ITC Intelligence Report. But we plan to add to this mix, with two new reports: Patent Transactions and Patent Litigation.
We also plan to improve the report content by including other useful information such as cost analysis and cost of filing patents, comparison of cost models, etc.
We have also updated our website for Patexia Concierge Members. They can now view the historical rankings of all law firms and attorneys in different categories, directly under their profiles. For example, all the historical rankings of Alston & Bird for patent prosecution, IPR and ITC are now available under Alston & Bird Ranking Page.
In the coming weeks, we plan to analyze patent prosecution data in 2019 as we prepare to publish our second Patent Prosecution Intelligence Report in early March. The report can now be pre-ordered directly through our website or if your company is a Concierge member, you will automatically receive a copy of the report, once it is released. Stay tuned...