The final line: Law.com succinctly observes: "Raymond Niro sues first, settles fast, and collects millions..." [Another mention of Raymond Niro appears on the 271 blog in the post Troll Tracker: Tracker of "Patent Trolls", Blogger . . . Patent Infringer? ]
Of patent litigations, patenthawk had noted in Nov. 2006:
In fact, the number of patent litigations doubled between 1991 and 2004 before dropping 11% last year.
With the new focus on IP has come an even greater rise in the number of patent litigations filed in federal district courts throughout the United States (see chart 2).
Chart 2 shows patent litigations at 2,500 in the year 2000, at 3,000 in the year 2004, and indeed dropping below 3,000 in the year 2005.
IPBiz notes that when one realizes that patent litigations are in the range 2,500 to 3,000, numbers for re-exams in the range of 100's do not justify the term "rarely used." PatentHawk observed:
The PTO recently released reexamination stats through 3Q of the fiscal year (ending June 2007). Both ex parte and inter partes filings are heading towards record totals. 477 ex parte reexam requests have been filed year-to-date, compared to 340 last year; a 40% jump. Inter partes reexam outings more than doubled: 90 versus 40. 70 requests were filed for all of fiscal 2006.
Further, note that re-exams pertain to questions of validity, whereas an accused patent infringer may simply argue non-infringment. Patent litigations are broader in scope than are re-examinations.