PWC’s most recent patents litigation study – “A Look Behind the Rising Numbers in US Patent Litigation: Macro Trends, Causes, and Implementations” – tells a story that every litigator knows, patent litigation is on the rise.  And the America Invents Act (“AIA”) has done little about the problem.  Here are some key takeaways from PWC’s study:

  • The number of cases has grown, as has the number of patents the PTO issued.
  • The growth of troll cases has been “exorbitant.”
  • The increased number of cases has not come with an increase in cases going to trial. Of course, the increase in trials could log increased filings by several years.
  • Median time to trial has grown only moderately, despite a huge increase in the number of cases filed.
  • The median patent damages award has declined.

What do retailers take from these statistics?

  • The decreasing awards, consistent time to trial and consistent number of trials coupled with increased filings suggests weaker patent claims and/or a reduced interest in going to trial for plaintiffs.  So, the traditional troll model of getting to trial as quickly as possible may be changing.
  • Cases continue to increase.  The troll problem is increasing.  Retailers need to work together looking for resolutions.