More than 150 intellectual property lawsuits were filed in Maryland's federal district court in 2012, a 45% increase over 2011 levels, 75% ahead of 2010. If the individual number of actual plaintiffs and nominal counterclaim plaintiffs in cases with multiple parties are counted, 2012 will be remembered as a very litigious year for patent, trademark, and copyright owners. Nationally, the number of new IP lawsuits may have increased as much as 30%, according to some sources.
The first chart below shows a spike in patent litigation activity in Maryland in 2012 compared to the previous four years. According to records available from Justia.com and PACER, plaintiffs filed 45 patent lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (Greenbelt and Baltimore divisions combined) in 2012, compared to just 35 lawsuits in 2011 and 22 in 2010 (45% and 22% differences, respectively).
Thanks to so-called copyright trolls, who brought hundreds of copyright infringement cases nation-wide in 2012, the number of copyright lawsuits in Maryland more than double from the 38 cases filed in 2011 (see chart below). The 78 cases filed last year, involving hundreds of "john doe" copyright defendants, was a 105% jump over 2011, and 189% over 2010 levels.
Bucking the trend, trademark owners filed fewer federal lawsuits in Maryland in 2012. The 32 cases filed last year was a drop of 6% over 2011 levels, and 20% lower than the number of cases filed in 2010.