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Intellectual property litigation numbers fall in US

There was less intellectual property (IP) litigation last year in the US than in the previous year, legal newswire Law360 has said. The firm analysed court filings for the year and found that IP law suit numbers fell by 11%.15 Jan 2009

Its research found that 9,210 law suits last year involved copyright, patents or trade marks, compared with 10,276 in 2007. It said that the fall off was largely down to a drop in the number of recording industry law suits being pursued.

"The trend reflects the success of the recording industry in protecting its copyrights, leading the industry to bring fewer lawsuits in the past few years," it reported.

IP is critical to most technology businesses, which trade on their innovations, inventions or improvements to other technologies.

Another area of law vital to technology companies is antitrust law. Microsoft, in particular, has faced significant antitrust litigation, while Intel is facing a probe by the European Commission on antitrust grounds and another antitrust probe by the state of New York.

Law360 found that the number of antitrust law suits in the US rose by 27% in 2008. It said that this is the continuation of a trend.

"[This extends] a multiyear trend of dramatic increases as private plaintiffs firms closely track government investigations and prosecutions," its research said.
The research found that employment law suits had increased in number by 6%, and that the number of bankruptcy filings increased dramatically.