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The patent troll problem is getting worse

Between January and June 2014 the Supreme Court ruled on a record six patent cases — and in all six cases, the Court unanimously sided with accused patent infringers against patent holders. In the second half of 2014, patent lawsuits declined, and that led some people to speculate that the high court's rulings deserved credit.

But patent litigation was back up in the first half of 2015, according to data collected by the patent defense organization Unified Patents:


The orange bars show the number of lawsuits brought by "non-practicing entities." These organizations, more commonly known as patent trolls, make no products of their own but make money by suing other companies that infringe on their patents — usually by accident. The blue bars show other patent lawsuits, most of them brought by companies that make products covered by their own patents, instead of just filing lawsuits related to products they don't make.

The number of lawsuits brought by patent trolls in the first half of 2015 is up 60 percent from the second half of 2014, and up 15 percent from the first half of 2014.

These statistics are significant because the rapidly growing number of patent troll lawsuits has been a major argument for patent reform legislation. The latest figures make it clear that the courts have not solved the patent troll problem, strengthening the case for Congress to get involved.