Is the Poor Economy Affecting Patent Filings?

It is commonly accepted wisdom that patent lawyers will be in demand no matter how badly the market is faring. However, a recent Patently-O post, courtesy of Paul Janicke at the University of Houston Law Center, now casts doubt on that belief.

Since the economy tanked in September, Prof. Janicke has found that patent filings are down by 20%. In September and October of 2007, 513 patent suits were filed; during that same period in 2008, there were only 409 filings.

Could the decrease be due to the fact that there are fewer deep pockets to sue? As one Patently-O commentator put it, "When the host dies, the parasites die with it. With fewer profitable companies to leach off it is inevitable that there are fewer leaches."