Patent News

Feb. 19, 2019

Legal Reader: Lex Machina’s Annual Patent Litigation Report by Jay W. Belle Esle

Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company and creator of the award-winning Legal Analytics® platform, released its sixth annual Patent Litigation Report at the end of January – its most comprehensive report on patent litigation trends to date. The report illustrates data-driven issues and trends in federal district court patent case filings, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) administrative hearings and Hatch-Waxman/ANDA cases.

According to the data, 2018 saw a decline in new patent, PTAB, and ANDA case filings across the board. Patent case filings in federal district court fell for the third year in a row to 3,657 cases, reaching a new low not seen since 2011. PTAB filings were down substantially in 2018 to 1,718 cases, with the fewest petitions filed in since 2014. While ANDA filings have generally increased since 2009, there were fewer ANDA case filings in 2018 (396 cases) than in 2017 (417 cases), but still more than those filed in 2016 (325 cases).

Other highlights include:

  • The District of Delaware (D.Del) has become the top venue for patent litigation as a result of C. Heartland v. Kraft Foods. D.Del. captured nearly 25% of all new patent case filings in 2018.
  • Conversely, new patent case filings in the Eastern District of Texas (E.D.Tex.) fell in 2018 from about 21% in 2017 to 14% in 2018. However, Judge James Rodney Gilstrap (E.D.Tex.) still presided over the most patent case filings in the country (9%), followed by Judge Leonard Philip Stark (D.Del., 6%).
  • Del. hosted half of all ANDA cases filed in 2018, by far the most of any other jurisdiction, followed by the District of New Jersey (more than 35%).
  • More than $1.4 billion dollars in patent damages were awarded in 2018, the most awarded since 2014. The increase is attributable to two large awards totaling $900 million collectively.
  • The most active parties in 2018 patent litigation filings were Uniloc and PersonalWeb Technologies for plaintiffs and Apple and Google for defendants, with Google defending the most suits brought by High Volume Plaintiffs (entities filing more than 10 lawsuits per year). Juul Labs and The Electric Tobacconist, LLC – both members of the nicotine vaping industry – each joined the most active parties lists in 2018.
  • Celgene, newly acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb, was the most active ANDA plaintiff in 2018, with retailers Kroger and Walgreens joining the list.
  • District courts ruled on fewer injunctions in 2018 than in recent years, suggesting a change in strategy.

Read more here.