US trademark litigation remains flat in 2018

Heading into the final quarter of 2018, Lex Machina has reported that 3,026 trademark litigation cases have been filed in the United States so far this year. Therefore, the projected total for year-end is 3,894 – indicating that filings will remain flat after nearly a decade of decline.

The long-term trend in litigation flings has been downward – with 2017 representing a nine-year low (the 3,832 filings in 2017 marked the first time that a sub-4,000 number has been reported over the past decade). This year it appears that the decline has been arrested. However, with a slight increase of 3,892 filings predicted for 2018, filing levels are essentially flat – suggesting that competition for the litigation dollar will remain intense.

The status quo has also been maintained with respect to the courts most frequently receiving trademark case filings. The US District Court for the Central District of California sits at the top of the rankings table for “most trademark cases filed by year”, as it has for over a decade. However, the figures for the US District Courts for the Southern District of Florida and the Northern District of Ohio are notable, having already exceeded 2017’s litigation case levels.

Figure 1: Trademark litigation cases filed 2009-2018

Lex Machina *2018 is the projected year end figure, based on 3,026 cases as of 12 October 2018.

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