2015: Year in Review for Intellectual Property and Patents

By all accounts, 2015 was a remarkable year for patents. A new milestone was reached as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued patent number 9,000,000 in April. In fact, the USPTO granted almost 300,000 patents in 2015. Patent application filings were up, with more US patent applications filed in the 2015 fiscal year than the 2014 fiscal year. However, we were reminded how far the USPTO has to go when a catastrophic power failure crippled the USPTO’s systems for days at the end of the year.

But for many players in the patent world, 2015 was business as usual. IBM once again held the top spot for the number of US patents granted, followed by Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, and Google. The number of patent litigation suits filed was also substantial, with a 13% increase over the number of suits filed last year. Once again, the Eastern District of Texas led the way as the top venue for patent litigation filings, followed by the PTAB. The number of cased filed in the PTAB has increased every year since its inception in 2012. The increase in patent litigation suits filed indicates that despite concerns over the impact of Alice and other recent events in patent law, intellectual property rights were as strong as ever in 2015.

Contributor: Neil M. Barnes