A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware

Annual Report 2021
U.S. District Court

We wrote recently to report about the District of Delaware FBA's annual meeting, where the Court updated local practitioners about the state of the Court and upcoming changes. We promised an update when the Court issues its 2022 Annual Report.

Well, here is that update! The report is attached below in full. Some highlights include:

  • The report notes that the last five judges nominated to the District of Delaware took their oaths of office and entered duty within two weeks of confirmation by the Senate. The Senate confirmed Judge Williams on July 20, 2022. Doing the math, if history repeats itself, we should see Judge Williams start by Wednesday August 3, 2022. That's good news for plaintiffs with cases on the vacant judges docket!
  • The Court remains among the busiest in the country on a per-judge weighted case basis, and would be the busiest if multi-plaintiff MDLs did not count for so much. As Judge Connolly explains:
We currently have the second highest weighted case filings per judgeship (902) in the country. To put that in perspective, the national average filings per judgeship (526) is 58% of our weighted filings figure. And it bears mention that although two of our judges currently have Multi District Litigation (MDL) cases, none of those cases has a gargantuan number of plaintiffs that can sometimes skew the average weighted filings per judgeship metric. It is our judges’ overall caseloads, not an anomalous MDL, that account for our Court’s disproportionate weighted filings figure. The complex nature of our caseload (more than 20% of all patent cases filed in the United States last year were filed in our Court) make the workload all the more challenging.
  • The Court listed and thanked all 21 current visiting judges. This list includes a few names I haven't seen before—most likely they are judges who haven't taken a large number of patent cases.
  • The Court has progressed to Phase 4 of its COVID plan: Full return to normal operations, and the Clerk's office is back to full strength.

Patent case filings were up 17% in 2021:

2021 D. Del. Patent Filings
U.S. District Court

IP cases made up 49% of the Court's total docket in 2021:

Case Filings 2021
U.S. District Court

Meanwhile, patent cases made up 47% of the docket–suggesting that other IP cases, such as copyright and trademark, made up a healthy 2% of the docket:

Patent Filings as a Percentage of the Court Docket 2021
U.S. District Court

Remarkably, jury service in 2021 was in line with prior years, despite the COVID restrictions:

U.S. District Court

Finally, the Court had far more patent filings per judgeship than similar courts:

Patent Filings per Judge 2021
U.S. District Court

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