Creeping Tsunami: Patent Filings up in Delaware After TC Heartland

The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware now has more patent case filings on its docket than the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, likely the result of a May 2017 Supreme Court ruling restricting where patent holders can sue.

There’s been a 10 percent decline nationwide in patent filings, Denise Seastone Kraft, a patent litigator with DLA Piper in Wilmington, told me, but, at the same time, there’s been a significant increase in the percentage of cases filed in Delaware, she said.

The volume of patent suits have definitely increased in Delaware, she said, adding that the statistics bear that out. “We’ve also seen it in practice,” she said.

“What happened in Delaware is like a tsunami creeping up on you slowly,” she told me.

“You don’t notice it at first,” she said, but “we’re seeing the cases roll in and they’re starting to build now,” she said.

The Delaware district court is so busy with patent cases, she said, the Judicial Conference has recommended for years that a fifth judge be added to the bench. But that’s not likely to happen because Congress hasn’t provided the funding for an additional position, she said.

The fallout from the TC Heartland case has also caused an uptick in the number of such cases filed in other U.S. district courts including the Northern District of Illinois and the Northern and Central Districts of California, intellectual property and life sciences litigator James Stronski of Crowell & Moring in New York told me Feb. 14.

Read my full story on developments in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware here.

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