Patent Reform Fails to Prevent Litigation Spike, Says Corporate Counsel Law Firm Survey
NEW YORK – Nov. 20, 2012 – Although the America Invents Act (AIA) that took effect September 15, 2011, aims to reduce patent lawsuits, its initial impact failed to halt, and in some ways helped fuel, a dramatic increase in caseloads at the most active litigation firms, according to a survey published in the December issue of ALM’s Corporate Counsel, the nation’s leading publication for general counsel and in-house attorneys. Highlights of the Patent Litigation Survey are posted at www.corpcounsel.com.
Fish & Richardson, top-ranked for the fourth consecutive year, handled 173 federal district court patent infringement cases in 2011, 35 percent more than in 2010, while Jones Day, which moved into second-place from third, saw its caseload jump 89 percent to 125. The next-ranked ﬁrms – Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton; Niro, Haller & Niro; Kirkland & Ellis; and DLA Piper – also reported sharp increases over the prior year.
Firms told Corporate Counsel that the AIA had the ironic effect of accelerating infringement filings by so-called “patent trolls,” the non-practicing entities that extract value from patents solely through licensing and lawsuits. The law’s new restrictions on naming unconnected defendants in a single suit pushed up the number of suits in two ways. There was a rush to the courthouse before the rule took effect, followed by a jump in individual suits when group suits were no longer allowed.
The filings boom was also fueled by non-troll activity, however. Industry parties were very active last year in suing one another over smartphone, semiconductor, pharmaceutical and other life-sciences patents.
Leading the field in representing plaintiffs was Niro, Haller & Niro with 100 cases, followed by McCarter & English with 52 and Fish & Richardson with 42.
On the defense side, Fish & Richardson was top-listed with 131 cases. Kilpatrick Townsend had 98 and Jones Day 94.
The survey counted only cases that were active at the end of 2011 and did not include those before the International Trade Commission or appellate courts. Firm that served predominantly as local counsel were not ranked.
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