D. Del. in 2007: Twenty Percent IP Caseload

With all the talk of the economy’s woes and the renewed prospect of substantial patent reform, many commentators predict bleak times ahead for IP litigators. Amid this sea of gloom, it’s good to know that Delaware, home to over half the country’s Fortune 500 companies and an experienced judiciary accustomed to hearing those firm’s disputes, remains one of the leading patent jurisdictions in the country.

In 2007, IP plaintiffs filed 181 cases, 30 more than in 2006. These 2007 IP cases (patent, trademark, and copyright) filled nearly 20 percent of the District of Delaware’s entire civil docket. To put the number of IP cases our judges handled in perspective, consider that in all of last year, the Court received only 46 non-IP tort complaints. Of all civil categories, only prisoner petitions exceeded IP filings, and not by much: 202 to 181.

By comparison, the Eastern District of Texas’s 338 IP cases filed in the twelve-month period ending March 2007 (the latest stats available) represented 11 percent of its civil docket. The 144 IP cases filed in the Eastern District of Virginia in the same period comprised only 4 percent of that Court’s civil filings.

Coupled with a low reversal rate, Delaware is indeed a good place to be. While the “rocket dockets” shift in and out of favor (see IP Law 360’s recent take on this development), Delaware will continue business as usual.

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