It was a record-setting patent infringement lawsuit-filing month in November 2015. Of the 851 patent suits filed in federal courts, 467 were submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. According to legal research conducted by Lex Machina, per The Dallas Morning News, these figures set a U.S. record of a 32-percent increase in patent suits filed in one month in one judicial district. Now Tyler, Texas, is not only the “Rose Capital of the United States,” but also the “patent litigation capital of America.”
Additional Lex Machina data shows that, appropriately, around Thanksgiving of last year, a robust 341 suits of the total 471 were filed, “making it the busiest nine-day period in any court jurisdiction ever.” Why the rush? The updated Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that went into effect on Dec. 1. and “required plaintiffs to provide more extensive details in their initial complaints alleging wrongdoing by defendants.” Simply put in a quote to the Morning News by Jon Hyland, a partner at Barnes & Thornburg, “It’s really the fear of the unknown.”
What now for plaintiffs who filed patents? According to Jason Wietjes, shareholder at the firm Polsinelli Shughart, per the Morning News, plaintiffs need to determine two items: how the new rules affect what they allege in their complaints and if the rules are retroactive. Wietjes adds: “Under the new pleading standard, plaintiffs will have to demonstrate that their claims are plausible.”
As expected, correspondingly, “more defendants will ask judges to throw out patent cases, arguing that the plaintiffs’ complaints have failed to state a legal claim for which a court could provide some sort of relief.”
This year, we’ll see exactly how the new rules are applied and affect these patent cases.