With NPEs remaining active and the nonjoinder rule firmly in place, it's likely that patent suit filings will continue to rise. If history is any guide, the sluggish economy may also keep patent lawyers busy.
"Companies tend to look harder for value in their patent portfolios when the economy is down," Chaplin said, noting they often assert their patents against competitors to generate income and protect their market share.
In addition, the smart-phone wars and other high-stakes battles will continue. Lawyers say the $1.05 billion jury award that Apple won in California in its patent suit against Samsung in August may even encourage more litigation.
Lisa Shuchman reports for Corporate Counsel, an ALM affiliate of the Daily Business Review.