1st Half 2016 Patent Dispute Report


Overall, 1st Half 2016 litigation (2187 cases) was down from similar time frames in the last several years (Figure 1). Q2 2016 litigation was 31% higher than Q1 2016 (Figure 4).  Almost 90% of High-Tech litigation continues to be NPE related (Figure 8).   Extrapolating 1st half 2016 litigation to the full year would result in 4374 cases (Figure 11).  All top 5 most frequent plaintiffs in 2016 were PAEs (Figure 16).  PTAB appears to have reached a steady state of filings and cases pending (Figure 18).  

Figure 1: 2016 1st Half Patent disputes decreased 26.7% compared to the first half of 2015 and 13.2% compared to the first half of 2014, respectively.

Figure 2: PTAB and the E. D. of Texas continue to be the top 2 patent dispute venues.

Figure 3: PTAB filings seem to have stabilized while litigation has decreased to below 2012 if 2016 numbers stay the same for the rest of the year.

Figure 4: Litigation was up 31% from Q1 2016.


Figure 5: NPE activity decreased in the first half of 2016. 

Figure 6: The majority of patent disputes are in the High-Tech industry. 

Figure 7: NPE Litigation made up 58.3% of District Court cases initiated in the first half of 2016. 

Figure 8: NPE litigation made up 89.7% of High Tech cases in the first half of 2016, compared to 89.8% for the same period last year and 85% for the same period in 2014.

Figure 9: 89.3% of High-Tech cases related to NPEs were by Patent Assertion Entities.

Figure 10: In the first half of 2016, 63% of High-Tech petitions were filed against NPEs compared to 52.1% in 2015.

Figure 11: The number of patent litigation filings is projected to reach approximately 4,300 in 2016.

Figure 12: NPEs caused 61.8% of all litigation in Q2 2016.

Figure 13: 58.3% of all cases filed in 2016 were NPE-related.

Figure 14: 91.5% of all NPE-related litigation in 2016 was in the High-Tech sector.

Figure 15: High-Tech was the only sector where a majority of 2016 cases were NPE-related.

Figure 16: Most Frequent Plaintiffs in the 1st Half of 2016 were all PAEs.

Figure 17: Most Frequent Defendants in the 1st Half of 2016


ptab dispute report

Figure 18: The rate of PTAB filings remain high but filings and pending cases have stabilized.

Figure 19: 798 PTAB petitions were filed in the first half of 2016, including 336 against NPE Patent Owners. 

Figure 20: 41.2% of PTAB petitions in 2016 so far were filed against NPEs. 

Figure 21: 55.3% of PTAB petitions in 2016 were High-Tech related. 

Figure 22: 84.7% of 2016 PTAB petitions filed against NPEs were in the High-Tech sector, compared to 78.4% for the same period in 2015. 

Figure 23: 86.2% of 2016 PTAB petitions filed against NPEs were against Patent Assertion Entities. 

Figure 24: IPRs account for 90.9% of all 2016 PTAB petitions. 

Figure 25: Unified Patents was the #7 Petitioner at PTAB in the 1st half of 2016. 

Figure 26: Owners of the Most Frequently Challenged Patents in 2016



High-tech = Technologies relating to software, hardware, and networking

Medical = Technologies relating to pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and any other health related technologies

Other = Technologies relating to mechanical, packaged goods, sporting equipment and any other area outside of high-tech and medical patents.


Non Practicing Entity (NPE) = Company which derives the majority of its total revenue from Patent Licensing activities.

Operating Company or Op. Co. = Company which derives most of its total revenue from Product Sales or Services. Could be an SME or a large company.

Other Entity = Universities / Non-Profits / Government / Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

NPE (patent assertion entities) = Entity whose primary activity is licensing patents and acquired most of its patents from another entity

NPE (small company) = Entity whose original activity was providing products and services, but now is primarily focused on monetizing its own patent portfolio.

NPE (individual) = Entity owned or controlled by an individual inventor who is primarily focused on monetizing inventions patents by that individual inventor.

SME = Companies that make less than $200 million in annual revenue.

Venue in Federal District Court

TXED = Eastern District of Texas

DED = Delaware

CACD = Central District of California

ILND = Northern District of Illinois

CAND = Northern District of California


Total number of reported cases can vary based on what is included. Unified made its best attempt to eliminate mistaken, duplicative, or changes in venue filings, hence the totals may vary slightly compared to other reporting entities.

This includes all District Court and PTAB litigations between January 1, 2016 and March 31, 2016.

Statistics include litigations initiated by NPEs or Declaratory Judgments (DJs) initiated by operating companies against NPEs.

Unified strives to accurately identify NPEs through all available means, such as court filings, public documents, and product documentation.