Nonpracticing entities file plenty of patent infringement suits in the Northern District of California. But it's hardly the most favorable district for them, according to the 2010 Patent Litigation Study just released by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which examines patent litigation trends from 1995 to 2009.
During those years, nonpracticing entities had a success rate of 25 percent in the district. That’s compared to 66.7 percent in the Middle District of Florida; 62.5 percent in the District of Delaware; and 55.6 percent in the Eastern District of Texas.
It also took longer to take a patent case to trial in the Northern District of California, no matter who filed the suit. Among the 15 most active U.S. district courts for patent disputes, the district came in 13th at 2.95 years to trial.
The fastest docket was the Eastern District of Virginia, where the median time to trial was just under one year. The Eastern District of Texas came in sixth at 2.04 years to trial.
And in terms of median damages, the Northern District of California ranked sixth at $7,462,530. The Eastern District of Virginia topped the list at $30,331,418, followed by the Eastern District of Texas at $19,722,995. The NLJ has a broad look at the results here.
Overall, damages awarded to NPEs were on average more than triple those for practicing entities. From 2002 to 2009, nonpracticing entities were awarded a median of $12.9 million in damages, compared with $3.9 million for practicing entities. By contrast, between 1995 and 2001, nonpracticing entities were awarded a median of $5.2 million in damages, compared to $6.3 million for practicing entities.
And the chances of getting more money increased if the case was decided by a jury, instead of district court judge. In the 2000s, the median award at a jury trial was $10.7 million, versus $0.7 million for a bench trial. That compares with a median of $5.5 million for jury trials and $3.4 million for bench trials in the 1990s.