2014 Patent Verdicts Suggest the Best IP Rights Remain Valuable if More Difficult to Monetize

While $50 million-and-up patent verdicts were up in the first half of 2014, there were only two wins higher than $131M and none from NPEs.

The uncertainty brought about by legislation and the courts has not put a damper on patent wins, but it likely has influenced them by putting an unofficial ceiling on some.

If first half 2014 wins are any indication, patent enforcement has moved more to a middle ground with higher but less spectacular wins among a broad range of technologies. Med tech, pharma and high-tech all participated.

Interestingly, not a single NPE was among them, suggesting that despite their increased activity and asset quality they, or those that defend against them, are electing to settle before trial.

As reported in IP Law 360, many of the large verdicts this year involve patent cases between competitors (operating companies), where the stakes and dollar amounts involved can be high. Others involve non-practicing entities, and the well-publicized reluctance of many companies to settle with such companies might lead to some sizable awards, said Lex Machina general counsel Owen Byrd.

“Clearly, some defendants are gambling and playing hardball and losing, when in the past they might have settled,” he said.

“While cases that result in nine-figure patent damages awards make headlines, Apple-vs-Samsung-lawsuit2they represent only a tiny fraction of all patent litigation, since most cases settle,” said the publication.

“Less than 2 percent of patent cases involve an award of compensatory damages, and while $15 billion in patent damages has been awarded across the U.S. since 2000, the 10 largest awards make up more than half of that total, Lex Machina found.”

The $50M+ awards for the first half of 2014. (Some of these are likely to be appealed.)

Edwards Lifesciences v. Medtronic – $393M

ViaSat v. Space Systems – $283M

Alfred E. Mann Foundation v. Cochlear Corp. – $131M

Apple v. Samsung – $120M ($2.2B sought)

Mylan v. SmithKline – $107M

Power Integrations v. Fairchild Semiconductor – $105M

SimpleAir v. Google – $85M


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Image sources: creatprint.com; http://blog.laptopmag.com/  

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