Santa Clara Law Professor Colleen Chien recently wrote an interesting article on Patently-O discussing some key patent troll statistics in light of President Obama’s troll comments and the new SHIELD Act.  Here are some of the key takeaways for retailers:

  • In 2012, trolls filed 62% of patent litigations 2,921 of 4,701 suits.
  • Retailers are “hit hardest” by troll suits filed against non-tech companies.  Unfortunately, that is no surprise for retailers.
  • Individual inventors brought 5% of 2012 troll suits.  What is not clear is whether the 5% includes corporations that were the original assignees or just individual plaintiffs.
  • The joinder law may be resulting in fewer filings against small companies that may not be able to be joined in a large group.  Of course, this is no help for smaller retailers with outsized name recognition that may still be getting sued.
  • Trolls purposefully or not are picking on small companies.  55% of troll defendants have $10M or less in revenues per year.  And $100M or less captures 66% of troll defendants.
  • Half of ITC respondents were in troll cases.  The impact of the ITC is growing for trolls.
  • Based upon limited data, many more letters are sent by trolls than suits are filed.  Again, no surprise to retailers based upon their own anecdotal evidence.