In 2013 there were 6,092 patent-infringement lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Courts, a 12.4 percent increase from the 5,418 filed in 2012. These numbers come from a new study out by Lex Machina, a California based legal analytics company, that show patent cases filed in U.S. District Courts have doubled since 2008.
So what was the company being sued for alleged patent infringement last year? Why, it was Apple Inc. with 59 lawsuits filed against it. In the number two spot was Amazon, which was hit with 50 suits, while AT&T and Google took third and fourth place with 45 and 39 patent suits filed against them respectively.
Interestingly out of the 6,092 patent-infringement suits filed last year, just 10 companies were responsible for nearly 13 percent of all suits filed; each of those three companies are patent-licensing firms.
Of the plaintiffs with the most patents asserted in cases opened during 2013, the second and third most litigious plaintiffs were Intellectual Ventures I and Intellectual Ventures II. Fans of the NPR program This American Life may remember Intellectual Ventures as being one of the main focuses of their patent troll exposés "When Patents Attack" and "When Patents Attack Part Two."
If you've ever wanted to know more about the wild world of patent troll lawsuits, these two radio programs are an invaluable resource for learning the basics without having to go to law school.