Wednesday, January 03, 2007

IP Litigation Survey Shows Decrease in Amounts Received By Patentees

Portfolio Media Inc. released its annual IP litigation survey, finding that IP disputes during 2006 resulted in judgments and settlements worth $3.4B - which is about half the amount awarded in 2005 (almost $7B). Only two judgments or settlements exceeded $300M in 2006, compared to nine in 2005.

The technology industry (i.e., computers, semiconductors, telecom) accounted for the largest amounts of damages in 2006, led by the Blackberry case which netted NTP $613M. Taken together, the technology industry accounted for 63% of all amounts received by pantentees. The damages according to industry type is as follows:

1. Technology and telecom ($2.06B) (63%)
2. Health Care ($1.01B) (30%)
3. Media and entertainment ($120M) (4%)
4. Financial Services ($63M) (2%)
5. Retail, leisure and consumer goods ($58M) (2%)
6. Energy and natural resources ($4M) (0%)

Also, because of the Blackberry case, the Eastern District of Virginia landed at the top for amounts of money collected within the jurisdictions:
1. Eastern District of Virginia ($613M)
2. District of Delaware ($465M)
3. Northern District of California ($368M)
4. Central District of California ($358M)
5. Eastern District of Texas ($352M)

The top IP settlements/judgments of 2006 follow. 10 out of the 11 cases were patent cases, and 8 of the 11 amounts came by way of settlement:

1. NTP Inc. v. RIM ($613M) (settlement)
2. Masimo Corp. v. Tyco Int'l Ltd. ($330) (settlement)
3. InterDigital v. Nokia ($253M) (settlement)
4. Rambus v. Hynix ($134M) (judgment)
5. David Colvin v. Microsoft/Audodesk ($133M) (judgment)
6. Advanced Med. Optics v. Alcon ($121M) (settlement)
7. Finisar v. DirecTV ($116M) (judgment)
8. ABC/CBS/NBC v. Echostar ($100M) (settlement)
8. (tie) Creative Technology v. Apple Computer ($100M) (settlement)
8. (tie) MGM Studios et al. v. Kazaa ($100M) (settlement)
8. (tie) University of California v. Monsanto ($100M) (settlement)

UPDATE: Bloomberg just posted a report earlier today that seems to contradict the Portfolio Media Study in some respects. The Bloomberg study looked at jury awards in 2006 and found that the number of patent verdicts ranking in the "top 50" jury awards went from three in 2005 to ten in 2006. Total awards, counting just those of more than $1 million each, rose from $379 million in 2005 to $1 billion in 2006.

Patent infringement lawsuits have more than doubled since 1990, when 1,236 were initiated. The number peaked at 3,075 filings in 2004 before dropping back to 2,720 in 2005, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington. Filings for 2006 are not yet available.

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