Patent Suits at a 10-Year Low; Cumulative 2019 Damages Awards Highest Since 2014

2019 saw the fewest patent suits filed since 2010. This occurred despite the increasing need to file suit in order to license in many areas of technology. 

This could mean that many plaintiff’s are simply no longer bothering to license because they know they will be engaged in a protracted and costly patent infringement suit.

According to the latest Lex Machina’s Patent Litigation Report 2020, while there have been large awards and 2019 is highest since 2014, fewer big awards in 2019, such as United Services Automobile Association v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., involved technology. Six significant awards in the top 20 went to pharma or chem plaintiffs.

So while suits may be down and cumulative damages paid up, high tech plaintiffs are not benefiting as significantly as they had in the past regarding top awards.

Wells Fargo was ordered to pay $200 million to USAA for infringement of its patents on mobile deposit capture technology may have significant ripple effects across the industry.

The technology at issue was developed by Mitek and is used by 6,500 other institutions. If the verdict stands, it may mean many other institutions will have to negotiate with USAA to pay additional licensing fees for their mobile deposit tech.

Outside of VirnetX v. Apple, which has yet to be paid, plaintiffs that are smaller tech companies or individual inventors are are few and far between in top the top-20 patent damages awarded between 2010 and 2019 (below).

To obtain a copy of Patent Litigation Report 2020, go here.

The report covers the following analytics:

  • Case Filings
  • Case Timing to Key Milestones
  • Top Districts and Judges
  • Most Active Parties
  • Top Law Firms
  • Case Resolutions and Findings
  • Damages Awards
  • PTAB

Image source: Lex Machina


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