There is much to digest in PricewaterhouseCoopers' recently released 2012 Patent Litigation Study. The study takes a long look back at how various federal jurisdictions rank in a multitude of patent-related categories, including patent holder success rates, time-to-trial statistics and median damage awards, among others. Those rankings were drawn from statistics recorded from 1995 through 2011 in the nation’s 15 busiest patent jurisdictions.
As one might imagine, the patent-litigation heavy Eastern District of Texas made an appearance in most of those categories.
In the median time-to-trial category, the Eastern District was ranked sixth with an average of 2.17 years.
In the “more favorable to patent holders” category, the Eastern District was ranked second with patent holders prevailing 55.7 percent of the time.
And in the median damages category, the Eastern District ranked fifth with $8,782,738.
Of course, there are a lot of caveats that have to be considered when looking at those statistics, says Michael C. Smith, a partner in Marshall’s Siebman, Burg, Phillips & Smith. The Eastern District’s patent docket didn’t explode until 13 years ago, he notes. And the America Invents Act, which went into effect last year, has cut down on the number of defendants that can be sued in a single patent infringement filing.
Yet the report overall reaffirms what Smith is seeing in the Eastern District.
“They define success when you get a win on infringement and a finding of damages," Smith says of the report. "What we’ve been seeing a lot is the damage findings tend to be low. The plaintiff will win about half of the time. But they are about 10 percent of the recovery of what they ask” about one-third of the time, he says.
-- John Council