Lex Machina Releases 2021 Patent Litigation Report

Patent litigators saw record damages and increased case filings despite the pandemic

Menlo Park, CA — March 11, 2021Today, Lex Machina and LexisNexis release their annual Patent Litigation Report looking at trends in federal district court as well as the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). It focuses on 2020 and how it compared to other years given the changes caused by COVID-19.

“For some metrics, we can clearly see the effects of the pandemic, but they aren’t as prevalent as originally predicted a year ago,” said Geneva Clark, Lex Machina’s patent legal data expert and author of the report. “Actually looking at the data, and being able to parse it as it applies to a specific use case, enables practitioners to see how court activity has changed — not only because of the impact of the pandemic, but also as patent strategy evolves in the wake of several important Supreme Court decisions.”

Findings from the report include:

  • Yearly patent case filings in federal district court increased for the first time since 2015, with 4,060 patent cases filed in 2020. Petitions at PTAB also increase from 2019 with 1,538 petitions.
  • The Western District of Texas saw the most cases in 2020 with 857. Judge Albright, in particular, heard 793 cases, which consists of 19.5% of all patent cases in 2020.
  • WSOU Investments LLC filed 182 cases this past year when it began asserting a subset of the many patents it acquired from Nokia and other tech companies.
  • Google was the top defendant in 2020 with 48 cases. Several tech companies made the Most Active Defendants list.
  • Rabicoff Law filed the most cases in 2020 with 356 cases, while Fish & Richardson appeared most often on behalf of defendants with 227 cases. Fish & Richardson was also the most active law firm at PTAB with 203 trials.
  • A slowdown due to the pandemic was evident in the timing and findings data. The median time to trial for cases terminated in 2019 was 135 days shorter than cases terminated in 2020.
  • Despite the pandemic, $4.7 billion in damages were awarded in 52 cases, due in large part to big awards in The California Institute of Technology v. Broadcom Limited et al. ($1.1 billion in reasonable royalties) and Centripetal Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc. ($1.9 billion in reasonable royalties and enhanced damages).

Lex Machina’s reports and software enable practitioners to devise data-driven litigation strategies. The metrics in this report may help readers decide who to pursue as clients, whether to pursue a particular motion, or when to settle. This research supplements traditional legal research and anecdotal data for a competitive edge in litigation.

Register here for a copy of the report.

Patent Report Webcast
Lex Machina is hosting a webcast to discuss the report on March 11, 2021 at noon ET/9am PT with Michael Flynn (Partner at Morris Nichols), Seth Lindner (Partner at Carter Arnett), and report author Geneva Clark. Register for the event or view a recording.

About LexisNexis Legal & Professional
LexisNexis Legal & Professional is a leading global provider of legal, regulatory and business information and analytics that help customers increase productivity, improve decision-making and outcomes, and advance the rule of law around the world. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. LexisNexis Legal & Professional, which serves customers in more than 150 countries with 10,600 employees worldwide, is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

About Lex Machina
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Legal Analytics, the Lex Machina platform fundamentally changes how companies and law firms compete in the business and practice of law. The company provides strategic insights on judges, lawyers, law firms, parties, and other critical information across 16 federal practice areas and select state courts. Lex Machina allows law firms and companies to predict the behaviors and outcomes that different legal strategies will produce, enabling them to win cases and close business.

Lex Machina was named one of the 10 most promising Legal Technology Solution Providers by CIO Review in 2020 and a LegalTech Trailblazer by the National Law Journal in 2021. Based in Silicon Valley, Lex Machina is part of LexisNexis, a leading global provider of legal, regulatory, and business information and analytics. For more information, please visit www.lexmachina.com.

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