Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lex Machina Releases 2013 U.S. Patent Litigation Year in Review

Lex Machina has just announced the publication of its 2013 Patent Litigation Year in Review, available for download here.  Just reading the Executive Summary is an eye-opener.  Here are some highlights:
Plaintiffs filed 6,092 new patent cases in U.S. District Courts in 2013, compared to 5,418 new cases filed in 2012, a 12.4% increase.
A plurality of these new cases were filed in the Eastern District of Texas (1,495 cases, 20% increase over 2012) and the District of Delaware (1,336 cases, 33% increase over 2012). . . .

Not surprisingly, all ten plaintiffs that filed the most new patent cases in 2013 are patent monetization entities (PMEs). Melvino/ArrivalStar, Wyncomm and Thermolife each filed more than 100 cases. But seven of the ten plaintiffs with the most patents asserted in open cases are operating companies,  including Ericsson, Finisar, Motorola Mobility, Apple, Philips and Pfizer. . . . 
PMEs ArrivalStar and Melvino jointly asserted six of the ten most frequently asserted patents, all involving systems for monitoring or tracking vehicle status, travel or proximity.
4,917 patents were at issue in all cases filed during 2013. Of these, 3,032, or 61%, had not been litigated in the past 10 years. . . .
The 10 largest damages awards ranged from $1 billion, to Monsanto from DuPont for infringement of a patent for genetically modified seeds, to just over $15 million, to Tomita from Nintendo for infringement of a video camera image system. Damages generally increased from 2012 to 2013, although headline-stealing damages caused the average damages to increase more (28%) than the median damages (22%). Finally, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) remains an important venue for resolving patent disputes. Total new ITC investigations in 2013 stabilized at 41, almost identical to 2012’s 42 new investigations, after spiking to 70 in 2011.
As for damages in particular, average damages increased from $27,209,176.99 in 2012 to $34,694,527.11 in 2013, while median damages went from $1,027,447.34 to $1,256,920.00.

Obviously, this report should be of interest to anyone who follows not only patent litigation and patent remedies in the U.S. but also the ongoing debate over patent assertion entities. 

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