PWC’s 2014 Patent Litigation Study

PWC 2014 patent reportPricewaterhouseCoopers has just released its comprehensive annual study of U.S. patent litigation, covering the period from 1991 through 2013. Examining everything from litigation success rates, time-to-trial and median damage awards to comparisons of judges, districts, jury v. bench trials and non-practicing entities (“NPEs”) v. practicing entities (“PEs”), the report is a treasure trove of fascinating statistics.

The report concludes that, “in some ways, 2013 appeared to be a moderating year in patent infringement litigation,” with fewer mega-damage awards and a continuing decline in median damages, but on the other hand, “both the number of patent cases filed and the number of patents granted continued to grow rapidly in 2013 – by 25% (to almost 6,500 cases) and 7% (to almost 300,000 patents) respectively.”

Just a few highlights of the report are set forth below:

Patents Issued and Lawsuits Filed
• Number of patents issued by the USPTO increased at 5% annually since 1991.
• That figure increased to 11% annually since 2009.
• Number of patent lawsuits filed increased at 8% annually since 1991.
• That figure increased to 24% annually since 2009.

Median Damages Awarded
• Median damages awarded peaked about 2000-2004 at $7.5 million.
• By 2010-2013, that figure declined to about $4.3 million.
• In 2010-2013, NPEs received median damage awards of $8.5 million, compared to $2.5 million for PEs.

Ten Largest Damage Awards 1995-2013
• Three of the top-ten awards came in 2012, with each of those exceeding $1 billion.
• The largest award in 2013 was $228 million, too small to make the list.

Jury v. Bench Trial
• In 1995-1999, patent owners had a success rate of 81% in jury trials, compared to 43% in bench trials.
• That difference has been steadily shrinking; in 2010-2013 those figures were 74% and 64%.
• However, in 2010-2013, median damages awarded by jury trial was $15 million, compared to $400,000 by bench trial.

NPE v. PE Success Rates
• From 2010-2013, NPEs have an overall success rate of 26%, compared to 38% for PE patent owners.
• At summary judgment, those figures are 3% for NPEs and 10% for PEs.
• University/non-profit NPEs have a 45% success rate, compared to 31% for corporate NPEs and 18% for individual NPEs.

Top Ten Industries
• Most suits involve consumer products, then biotech/pharma, industrial and computer hardware.
• Greatest median damages go to telecom, then biotech/pharma, medical devices and computer hardware.
• Greatest success rate goes to medical devices, then biotech/pharma, computer hardware and consumer products.

District Court Rankings (1995-2013)
• Greatest overall success rate for patent holders goes to E.D.Texas (57%), then M.D. Florida (54%).
• Largest median damages goes to S.D. Texas ($57 million), then E.D. Virginia ($37 million).
• Greatest success rate for NPEs goes to W.D. Penn. (67%) M.D. Florida (63%).
• Lowest success rate for NPEs goes to D.C. (0%), Maryland (0%) and E.D. Mich. (0%).

The full report is available HERE

If you have any questions or require assistance, contact a patent attorney.

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