The USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has released its January 2017 statistics. Most notable is the surge in petition filings, particularly inter partes review IPR petition filings. In January 2017, 246 petitions were filed, 237 of which were IPR petitions. This number of petition filings is by far the highest ever for the PTAB—the previous high-water mark was October 2014, when 195 petitions were filed, 179 of which were IPR petitions.
January 2017’s filings represent an abrupt change from 2016, which saw a relatively stable stream of about 150 petitions per month. This increase appears to be the result of a large number of petitioners filing five or more petitions per dispute between the parties. As of the date of this writing, the trend does not appear to be continuing into February 2017, which is projected to have approximately 140 total petition filings.
The PTAB’s full statistical report can be found at (https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/aia_statistics_january2017.pdf).