PWC Reports Sharp Rise in Patent Litigation Filings

A new study published by PriceWaterhouseCoopers reports that new patent lawsuit filings reached an all-time high in 2011, with a 22% increase over the number of patent lawsuits filed in 2010.

The study contains many useful data points.  Interesting facts include:

  • over the past five years, the annual median damage award for cases that reach a final a decision was approximately $4 million;
  • average damage awards in favor of non-practicing entities  were nearly double those for practicing entities over the last ten years;
  • the average time to trial in a patent case is 2.5 years, although significant variations in speed exist among the District Courts.

The increased number of patent filings may be attributed in part to the passage of the America Invents Act, which limited patent holders’ ability to sue multiple defendants in a single lawsuit.   After the law passed, patent holders were often required to file multiple lawsuits against single defendants, rather than a single lawsuit against multiple defendants.  However, because the AIA  took effect in September 2011 and thus only affected patent filings during the last four months of the year, the AIA alone is unlikely to be the sole factor that caused the spike.

The complete report is available on the PWC website.

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