According to the new 2014 Patent Litigation Study by PwC, the number of U.S. patent cases filed and the number of patents granted continued to grow in 2013, up 25 percent to a new record high of 6,500 cases and up seven percent to almost 300,000 patents. Still, the median damages awards continue to trend down, declining to $4.3 million in the most recent four-year period.
PwC maintains a database of U.S. patent infringement actions, collecting key information on liability outcomes, damages awarded, time-to-trial, trier of fact, type of entity, industry, district court and judge.
PwC’s study also found the following:
- The median jury award was nearly 37.5 times the median bench award between 2010 and 2013.
- Reasonable royalties remain the predominant measure of patent damages, representing around 80 percent of awards since 2000. But, lost profits showed a surprising resurgence over the last four years, growing to a 37 percent share of the awards.
- The median damages award in the telecommunications industry was the highest at $22 million.
- The biotechnology /pharmaceutical, medical devices, and computer hardware /electronics industries also had high median damages awards, at double to triple of all industries.
- The top four districts with favorability to patent holders including Virginia Eastern, Delaware, Texas Eastern and Wisconsin Western are the same as last year’s study, with shorter time-to-trial, higher success rates and greater median damages awards.
- Six patent cases were granted certiorari in the current term, relating to matters including the scope of patentable subject matter in business method patents; the extent to which activities outside U.S. borders can infringe U.S. patents; under what circumstances defendants can recover litigation costs from losing plaintiffs and; technical patenting and procedural issues.
So, why is it that both the number of U.S. patent cases filed and the number of patents granted have continued to grow so quickly?