It’s hard to believe that it has only been 10 months since September 16, 2012. On that date, the new patent challenge proceedings of the America Invents Act (AIA) first became available. Since that day 400+ petions for trial (IPR and CBM) have been filed with the USPTO Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) as an alternative to more costly district court litigation. As the current filing rate is expected to continue, if not accelerate, roughly 500 requests will be pursued within the first year (USPTO fiscal year 2013). With 80-90% of these filings proceeding through to a written decision (i.e., complete trial), the PTAB will be conducting as many as 400 trials per year. This is roughly 4 times that of the most popular patent jusisdiction in the U.S., the now infamous Eastern District of Texas (EDTX).
Indeed, when accounting for the fact that many district court filings are split amongst multiple defendants (as a result of the AIA joinder provision), the PTAB has been the busiest patent court in the U.S. for some time.
With the time to trial in the EDTX now approaching 3 years, and the time to decision in the PTAB roughly 17 months from petition filing, it seems that an antidote to the abusive patent litigation already exists. Still Congress is clamoring to pass additional patent reforms, while at the same time sequestering USPTO funding. Seems to me the most effective patent reform legislation would be to provide full funding to the solution already in place, and working.