PwC’s Patent Litigation Study reveals 2012 was a colossal year with patents granted and litigations filed significantly increasing

Three cases make headlines with massive awards of $1 billion or greater;
Nonpracticing entities continue to grow in impact


NEW YORK, June 18, 2013 Patent actions continued their dramatic rise in 2012 with 5,189 filings -- the highest number ever recorded -- according to the 2013 Patent Litigation Study released today by PwC US. In 2012, the total number of patent litigation filings rose 29 percent over last year, primarily resulting from the impact of the anti-joinder provision of the America Invents Act.  Meanwhile, the 2012 median damages award jumped to $10 million.

“Three cases yielded $1 billion or more in patent infringement damages awards this year, which is monumental.  Prior to 2012, there were only three awards that ever eclipsed this high mark,” said Chris Barry, Forensic Services partner with PwC. “With the significant increase we are continuing to see in patents granted and litigations filed, patent infringement litigation shows no signs of waning. Companies and their patent litigation counsel need to be awa re and prepared for this growing trend as they plan for the coming years.”

Nonpracticing entities (NPEs) continued to play a critical and growing role in 2012 patent litigation activity, and are drawing increased attention from policy and lawmakers.  In 2012, NPEs accounted for over half of the new patent lawsuits filed, although only 16 percent of decided cases.  NPEs’ median damages awards have averaged twice the median award for practicing entities over the last 12 years.

PwC’s 2013 Patent Litigation Study also found that:

  • While the NPE median damages award outpaces that of practicing entities’, NPEs tend to have lower overall success rates
  • The median damages award in telecommunications, biotechnology/pharma, medical devices, and computer hardware/electronics had much higher median damages awards than other industries
  • Certain federal district courts (particularly Eastern Virginia, Delaware, and Eastern Texas) continue to be more favorable to patent holders, with shorter time-to-trial durations, higher success rates, and larger median damages awards
  • The top five federal district courts accounted for 39 percent of all identified decisions involving an NPE as the patent holder, with the Eastern District of Texas accounting for 12 percent
  • Of currently-active judges, the ten most active on patent infringement cases generally have higher median damages and lower time to trial than the overall study medians

According to PwC, not all NPEs are created equal. University and non-profit NPEs had the highest success rate among NPE litigants, while individuals’ median damages award is considerably lower than the median award of company or university NPEs.

PwC maintains a database of damages awards and other case information related to identified patent infringement decisions. The firm collects data related to patent holder success rates, time-to-trial statistics, jury versus bench comparisons, and practicing versus nonpracticing entity (NPE) statistics from 1995 through 2012.

For more information about PwC’s 2013 Patent Litigation Study, visit:

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Suzanne Dawson
LAK Public Relations, Inc.
Tel: +1 (212) 329-1420