Litigation Analysis: Patent litigation in the US

This analysis was developed in collaboration by Rohit Gole, Prashanti Rao, Ashish Sankhe, Tanvi Penshanwar, and Yogeeta Mohite, all of Clarivate Analytics. 

Understanding the climate in which a business operates is critical to the success of those operations.  That is particularly true of assessing the risks and opportunities presented by the litigation environment of an operating territory. The US is the largest global economy, therefore understanding the litigation climate in the US is essential for firms either operating or contemplating starting operations there.

As the trusted global leader in providing insight and analytics to help accelerate the pace of innovation, Clarivate Analytics is proud to announce the release of a detailed study of litigation trends in the US.

The study aims to understand the trends in patent infringement litigation filings in the US. The study gives an overview by time of the total number of patent infringement lawsuits that were filed between 2012 and 2016. A dip in patent litigation filing in 2016 is observed and attributed to the Americas Invent Act (AIA), among other reasons.

The study also gives insight into the activities of patent assertion entities, commonly referred to as PAEs. PAEs have always been perceived as opportunistic entities that thrive on either asserting their patents against others and hoping for a huge settlement or coercing others to enter into a licensing agreement with them. The study highlights the volume of lawsuits filed by PAEs compared to practicing entities over the last five years.

Historically, the Eastern District of Texas was the most preferred jurisdiction for filing lawsuits. The venue was notorious for being more favorable to the filers. The Eastern District of Texas was also the most favored jurisdiction for PAEs. The Supreme Court ruling in TC Heartland LLC vs Kraft Food Group narrowed the forum shopping privilege of the filing parties.

Based on the data collected, top filing entities and top targeted entities during the last five years were identified. Our research has shown that hi-tech companies are frequent targets, especially by PAEs. Interestingly, PAEs have filed high volumes of lawsuits over the last five years and have been identified as the top filers.

The study also highlights the outcome of lawsuits over time and gives an overview of the life of a patent litigation. It has been noted that a large volume of cases are closed pursuant to settlement between the litigating parties.

Using an internally devised model, experts provide analysis on the strength of a litigated patent based on different parameters such as novelty, commercialization intent, technical breadth, downstream impact and age of the patent.

The report ends with an industry analysis of litigated patents and distribution of litigated patents by assignee. Patents classified under Computing and Control have been most litigated in the time frame of the study followed by patents classified under Communications. Analysis for the distribution of litigated patents by assignee shows that Pioneer Hi-Bred has the most number of patents that have been litigated in the past five years.


All patent infringement lawsuits that were filed between 2012 and 2016 were identified along with the patents litigated in the lawsuits. The lawsuits were identified as cases involving patent PAEs and cases involving practicing entities. The following study was conducted on the basis of the data collected.



Clarivate Analytics has made best attempts to exclude duplicate records, erroneous filings, or changes in the venue filings. However, there may be a slight variance in the totals compared to other reporting entities. Total number of reported cases can vary based on what is included. This includes all the District Court litigations between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016. The statistics include litigations initiated by non-practicing entities (NPEs) or Declaratory Judgments initiated by practicing entities against PAEs. Clarivate Analytics has tried to accurately identify PAEs through all available means, such as court filings, public documents, and product documentation.


To learn more, read the full report here.