Thursday, May 28, 2015

2015 PwC Patent Litigation Study Is Out

Every year PricewaterhouseCoopers publishes a U.S. patent litigation study, and it just came to my attention (hat tip to PatLit) that 2015 Patent Litigation Study is now available (link here).  Key findings:  (1)  the "number of patent lawsuits filed in 2014 dropped by 13%," to 5,700; (2) 2014 annual median damages awards attained their "second-lowest point in 20 years," at $2.0 million; (3) there were "no 'mega' verdicts in 2014"; (4) the "median jury award is 31x greater than median bench award in last 5 years," that is, $9.4 million versus $0.3 million (though I would imagine some of this is due to selection bias--in a low-stakes case, the parties may prefer to forgo a jury); (5) the "gulf between practicing and nonpracticing entities (NPEs)" grew, as "damages awards for NPEs are 4.5x greater than those for practicing entities over the last five years" ($8.9 million versus $2.0 million); (6) at the same time, "NPEs are 10% less successful overall," (35% versus 26% from 1995-2014), though success rates in cases that go to trial are about equal (67% versus 65%); (7) not surprisingly, there is now a "higher likelihood of the losing plaintiff having to reimburse defendant’s costs, following two 2014 Supreme Court decisions" (though I don't see any statistics in the report itself; for more information on the impact of the attorneys' fee decisions, see the recent posts on Patently-O by Hannah Jiam and by Shubha Ghosh); (8) reasonable royalties are awarded in 81% of cases in which damages are awarded, versus lost profits in 31% (in some cases, you can get both types of awards, lost profits as compensation for profits that would have been on sales lost to the infringer and reasonable royalties for the remainder); and (9) the median damages award was highest in the biotech/pharma sector ($21.4 million, based on 25 cases).  There are also statistics on district courts, individual judges, median time to trial, appeals, and so on.

Update:  Jason Rantanen called to my attention this post on the PatentDocs Blog that questions some of PwC's assertions regarding case filings.

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