RPX data reveal that the COVID-19 pandemic has not caused a decrease in patent litigation, despite its sweeping impact on many other areas of the economy. To the contrary, it may be contributing to an increase, especially for litigation filed by NPEs.
For the first two and a half months of 2020, the number of defendants added to litigation campaigns per week tracked the numbers from 2019 very closely. However, around mid-March, shortly after a National State of Emergency was declared, NPE litigation began swinging upward relative to the same time period in 2019. April 2020 saw this trend intensify, with an increase of 35% over March 2020, and 42% from the first-quarter average. Indeed, despite the pandemic, NPE filings in Q1 2020 were the highest observed in any first quarter since 2015 and were up significantly year-over-year in March and April 2020.
Across the country, state and federal court systems, as well as litigants, are adjusting to various constraints now in place due to COVID-19. Though still early, it is perhaps not too soon to consider how the global pandemic and its economic ripple effects might change the behavior of key patent actors, including NPEs, operating companies, litigation funders, and courts. ‘000s
See RPX Insight for detailed, regularly updated analysis of the effects of COVID-19 on the patent space.