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Will 2017 resemble 2016's decline in IP lawsuits?

If you were to hear that motorcycle accidents dropped by a significant margin in one year, would you immediately assume that motorcycle safety was no longer a concern worth pursuing? Or what if medical malpractice figures dropped precipitously over a given period of time -- would medical professionals just throw their hands up and say "we are now perfect, there won't be anymore mistakes going forward"?

Both situations would never happen. No one would react that way. People would be happy that the numbers were trending favorably, but the issue at hand would still be a significant one.

We use this context in light of new data about intellectual property lawsuits in 2016. According to Bloomberg, patent infringement lawsuits and copyright infringement lawsuits have declined by significant margins in the last year. In 2016, patent infringement complaints, of which there were 4,624, fell by 22 percent when compared to 2015. In addition, there were 3,811 copyright infringement complaints in 2016, marking a 25 percent decline from the previous year.

Who knows what 2017 will hold, but with these declining numbers, it is easy to start thinking -- like we mentioned above -- that IP infringement is on the decline. However, this is patently (pun intended) false. There will still be many people and companies looking to profit (and, thus infringe upon) the intellectual property of others. The holders of these patents and copyrights need to stand up to infringing parties and protect their IP.

Source: Bloomberg, "Patent, Copyright Lawsuit Volumes Fall in 2016," Malathi Nayak, Jan. 17, 2017 

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