Richards Layton & Finger

Nonpracticing Entities: Come to Delaware

Oct/Nov 2013

While the District of Delaware historically has been a preferred venue for patent litigation, it now faces a new wave brought by a relatively new type of plaintiff. In 2000, there were 97 patent cases filed in the district. Many involved suits between competitors, often with crosspatents at issue. Only a few of the cases were filed by the actual inventors of the patents or by entities that did not compete with the defendants. In 2012, there were 997 patent cases filed the district, and more than twothirds were filed by non-practicing entities (NPE), also referred to as patent monetization entities. Even after factoring in the provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AlA) that generally prohibits multidefendant complaints, the number of new patent cases filed in 2012 represents a dramatic increase in the number of NPE suits in Delaware.