Analytics Articles

Legal Analytics vs. Legal Research: What’s the Difference?

For hundreds of years, litigators have served their clients by applying facts to law using legal reasoning. To identify relevant law—statutes, cases, rules—to apply to the facts of a case, lawyers conduct legal research. Performing accurate legal research remains a core skill of successful lawyering. But over the past few years a new tool has appeared in litigators’ toolkits: legal analytics. Legal analytics involves mining data contained in case documents and docket entries, and then aggregating that data to provide previously unknowable insights into the behavior of the individuals (judges and lawyers), organizations (parties, courts, law firms), and the subjects of lawsuits (such as patents) that populate the litigation ecosystem. Litigators use legal analytics to reveal trends and patterns in past litigation that inform legal strategy and anticipate outcomes in current cases. While every litigator learns how to conduct legal research in law school, performs legal research on the job (or reviews research conducted by associates or staff), and applies the fruits of legal research to the facts of their cases, many may not yet have encountered legal analytics. Data-driven insights from legal analytics do not replace legal research or reasoning, or lawyers themselves. They are a supplement, both prior [...]

By |2018-06-13T16:37:55+00:00June 13th, 2018|Analytics Articles|

2017 Second Quarter Litigation Update

1,138 patent cases were filed in the second quarter of 2017, a 18% increase over number of cases filed in the first quarter of 2017.  A similar increase from the first to second quarter has happened in each of the previous 4 years. Although the number of cases filed in the first quarter of 2017 was one of the lowest in the last 5 years, the first half of 2017 only trails 2016’s first half by 7%.

By |2018-01-17T18:52:41+00:00July 18th, 2017|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

Lex Machina Launches Legal Analytics for Employment Litigation

As the next step in bringing Legal Analytics to more areas of the law, Lex Machina has expanded our coverage of employment cases pending January 1, 2009 through the present.  Our employment module offers the same ease-of-use and intuitiveness as our other practice areas, but introduces new tags, findings, remedies and damages specific to employment law. Discrimination, Retaliation, Harassment Lex Machina tags employment cases by the nature of the claims asserted, resulting in three (overlapping) categories: discrimination, retaliation, and harassment/ hostile work environment. Discrimination cases involve claims under federal statutes that prohibit adverse employment actions against members of a protected class. Harassment cases involve claims of unwelcome conduct based on an employee's protected status. Retaliation / hostile work environment involve claims that an employer punished or retaliated against an employee because the employee engaged in a legally protected activity. Based on cases filed between January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2017, discrimination lawsuits are by far the most common (87% of cases), followed by retaliation (66%) and harassment (35%).  However, employment cases often involve overlapping kinds of claims - discrimination and retaliation claims are combined more than half the time (54%), and the other two combinations occur in about a [...]

By |2017-10-10T01:45:33+00:00July 12th, 2017|Analytics Articles, Announcements|

Lex Machina Launches Legal Analytics for Commercial Litigation

Lex Machina is excited to add over 60,000 cases to our Legal Analytics platform with a new module for commercial litigation.  Commercial litigation is the business mainstay of many firms, a concern for nearly any corporation, and a big step for Lex Machina towards making Legal Analytics available across the law. This blog post takes a preliminary look at these cases, and begins by examining the broad overlap of commercial litigation with other practice areas.  Next, we look at how commercial litigation is spread across the districts around the country, and why no single district has more than 10% of commercial litigation.  Given the wide distribution of these cases, we conclude with an example of how practitioners working in new or unfamiliar jurisdictions can analyze judge behavior. Commercial overlap with IP and securities Commercial litigation, which Lex Machina defines as cases between business on breach of contract or business tort claims, is the single largest federal practice area. However, about 20% of these commercial cases pending since 2009 also involve an intellectual property claim (patent, trademark, or copyright).  Securities and antitrust cases comprise an additional 5%.   Overlap of commercial cases pending since 2009 with other practice areas The overlap [...]

By |2017-10-18T03:36:41+00:00June 20th, 2017|Analytics Articles, Announcements|

2017 First Quarter Litigation Update

Lex Machina Q1 2017 Litigation Update Patent litigation District Court 938 patent cases were filed in the first quarter of 2017.  This was the lowest per-quarter filings of any quarter since 2011 Q3 (although just barely - there were 963 cases filed in Q1 of 2016).  From last year’s average of 1130 cases per quarter, Q1 is down about 17%. Despite the low volume, case filings rose month-by-month during the first quarter of 2017 (see Fig. 2), and remain within the pattern established in 2016.  Historically, the first quarter has often been lower than the year’s final average. The dramatic spike in 2015, apparent in Figure 2, was caused by the end of Form 18. Fig. 1:  Patent cases filed, 2011 - 2017 Q1, by quarter   Fig. 2:  Patent cases filed, 2014 - 2017 Q1, by month     More patent cases (33% of those filed in 2017 Q1) were filed in the Eastern District of Texas than in any other jurisdiction. The percentage of patent litigation in the Eastern District of Texas had been increasing during the course of 2016, from 30% in the first quarter to 41% in the fourth quarter. The District of Delaware remained the [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:21:15+00:00April 12th, 2017|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

$2.54b Damages in Idenix Sets New Record

Last week on December 15, a jury in the awarded Idenix Pharmaceuticals LLC a record-setting $2.54 billion in damages against Gilead Sciences, Inc. (case no. 1:14-cv-0846 in the District of Delaware).  The amount was based on a reasonable royalty theory (finding a 10% rate on a base of $25.4 billion). This is the largest patent award ever by a district court, and the fifth patent award ever over $1 billion (the other four are listed below): $1.725 billion in Boston Scientific v. Cordis (D.Del.), awarded in 2010. Award was a consent judgment. $1.456 billion in Marvell Semiconductor v. Carnegie Mellon University (W.D.Pa.), awarded in late 2012.   Appealed (2014-1492): Fed Circuit affirmed on validity and infringement, but affirmed only $278 million of damages and remanding to determine additional damages issues.  The parties settled for $750m in 2016. $1.168 billion in Abbott Labs v. Centocor and New York University (E.D.Tex), awarded in 2009.   Appealed (2010-1144):  Fed Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of JMOL on validity (for § 112 written description), vacated award. $1 billion in El Dupont De Nemours v. Monsanto (E.D.Mo.), awarded in 2013.   Settled after appeal filed. Large awards continue to be rare, however.  Based on [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:23:37+00:00December 19th, 2016|Analytics Articles|

Design Patent Litigation Update

Design patents, the kind at issue in the Apple-Samsung case now before the U.S. Supreme Court, are a small but important part of the patent litigation picture.   Cases involving at least one design patent  (a kind of patent that protect the appearance rather than the functionality of an invention), account for 270 new cases a year, or about 60-70 new cases a quarter (Fig. 1).  These “design patent cases” * have, since 2012, accounted for about 5% of patent cases, although the percentage in 2016 is slightly higher at 6.4% (Fig.2).  Interestingly, design patent litigation is not subject to the spikes and dips seen in patent litigation more generally. * Note: design patent cases may include other non-design patents as well. The case resolutions for design patent cases differ from those for cases with other types of patents (Fig. 3).  For example, plaintiffs (claimants) seem more likely to win in design patent cases. However, design patents cases are far more likely to include trademark claims than cases without design patents (Fig. 4).  As a result, design patent cases share some similarities with trademark cases. For example, the case resolutions for design patent cases grow more similar to resolutions for [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:26:02+00:00October 26th, 2016|Analytics Articles|

Lex Machina 2015 End-of-Year Trends

Patent Litigation District Court Patent litigation in U.S. district courts grew in 2015 with 5,830 patent cases filed, a 15.0% rise from 2014 (5,070 cases).  Except for 2013, which remains the high-water year  for patent litigation (6,114 cases), 2015 surpassed all other previous years. Fig. 1:  Patent cases filed, 2009-2015 While the increase from 2014 was already apparent by Q3, the last quarter of 2015 showed a rise in case filings over Q3, a pattern not seen since 2012.  The 1,577 cases filed in Q4 2015 represent a 41.2% rise from Q3 - the strongest quarter-over-quarter rise in the last ten years. Fig. 2:  Patent cases filed, 2012-2015, by quarter The distribution of patent cases among district courts remains highly uneven.  The Eastern District of Texas received 2,540 cases comprising 43.6% of all cases filed in 2015 - a higher percentage than the combined total for all districts below the top 3 (41.9%).  The next busiest district, the District of Delaware, saw less than 10% of the cases filed in 2015.   Fig. 3:  Patent cases filed in 2015, by district The trend towards filing cases in Eastern Texas accelerated in Q4 of 2015.  Although Delaware saw its second quarter-over-quarter [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:30:41+00:00January 7th, 2016|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

Spike in Patent Case Filings Corresponding to End of Form 18

Lex Machina’s data shows a spike in case filings on November 30, 2015, corresponding to a rule change that eliminates Form 18, the form often used to plead direct infringement claims in patent cases. On that day, a record 259 patent cases were filed. The change, recommended by the Federal Rules Advisory Committee and adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court, became effective in the absence of Congressional action on December 1, 2015. Fig. 1:  November and December, 2015   Form 18 provides a simple form for pleading the facts of a direct infringement patent case.  Using Form 18 generally guaranteed plaintiffs would survive a motion to dismiss for lack of facts, despite the fact that Form 18 did not require identifying an infringed patent or even an accused product.  The abolishment of Form 18 has generally been perceived to raise the pleading standard, although the exact parameters of what now suffices are still not entirely clear. The 259 cases filed on November 30, 2015 set a new record, exceeding the old record of 200 cases filed on April 23, 2014, correlating with legislative rumors of patent reform.  There is no historic pattern which would otherwise explain this spike. Fig. 2: [...]

By |2017-10-09T20:31:05+00:00January 6th, 2016|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

Math4Law: Understanding Medians (and Averages)

Understanding Medians (and Averages) Many of Lex Machina’s new Analytics pages,  public reports, and services engagement reports use median figures as a way to help summarize data, showing, for example, the time-to-trial for a particular judge as a median number. This post explains what a median is, how a median relates to an average, and why we use medians at Lex Machina.  More importantly, I will try to show you why median calculations enable you to make better decisions about legal data.   Fig. 1:  Sample data First, what is a median?  Imagine a list of numbers, each representing the time-to-trial for a particular case.  If we put the list in order, and chose the middle-most number, that number would be the median.*  For example, a group of 5 cases may have time-to-trial values of 16 months, 17 months, 18 months, 19 months, and 50 months; the median is 18 months.   * If the list has an even number of times-to-trial, we define median as the arithmetic mean of the middle-most two numbers.  More on that in a moment...     Fig. 2:  The median is the middle-most value Before discussing the relative merits of medians and averages, let’s [...]

By |2017-10-18T03:37:41+00:00October 27th, 2014|Analytics Articles|