Q3 2015 Patent Dispute Report

Overall Trend

Figure 1: Patent disputes in the District Court and PTAB for Q1-Q3 in 2015 have increased 9.8% as compared to Q1-Q3 2014.

Patent Disputes from 2014 - 2015LitigationPTAB14 Q114 Q214 Q3. . .15 Q115 Q215 Q30500100015002000
14 Q11,253231
14 Q21,448497
14 Q31,123444
. . .
15 Q11,402440
15 Q21,574513
15 Q31,118442

Figure 2: Patent disputes have steadily grown since 2012.

Litigation and PTAB filings since 2012ITCPTABLitigation2012201320142015 (projected)02000400060008000
QuarterLitigationProjected Lit.PTABProjected PTABITC
2015 (projected)4,0941,1061,39550534

*ITC filings since 2012 comprise only a nominal amount of patent disputes and are therefore not included here.


Figure 3: Patent Disputes by Sector

Q3 2015 Patent Disputes by SectorPTABLitigationHigh TechMedicalOther02505007501000
High Tech662271

Figure 4: In Q3, the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas strengthened its position over the PTAB as the top venue for patent disputes.

Top Venues for Patent Disputes in 2015E.D. Tex.PTABD. Del.D. N.J.C.D. Cal.N.D. Cal.0500100015002000
E.D. Tex.1,816
D. Del.384
D. N.J.203
C.D. Cal.198
N.D. Cal.153

District Court Litigation

Figure 5: Considering fourth quarter trends in 2014, the number of 2015 patent litigation filings is projected to surpass 5,200 by the end of the year.

Patent litigation across the past 5 years20112012201320142015 (projected)25003500450055006500
2015 (projected)5,200

Figure 6: In 2015, 67.2% of all patent litigation was NPE-generated.

Patent Litigation 2014 - 2015Non-NPENPE14 Q114 Q214 Q314 Q415 Q115 Q215 Q30500100015002000
14 Q1786467
14 Q2992456
14 Q3651472
14 Q4620471
15 Q1922480
15 Q21,129443
15 Q3693417

Figure 7: NPE litigation made up 62.4% of District Court cases initiated in Q3 of 2015, as compared to 57.9% in Q3 of 2014.

Cases Filed by EntityNPENon-NPE37.6%62.4%
Entity15 Q3 Litigation

Patent Litigation by Industry


Figure 8: The majority of patent litigation in the third quarter of 2015 occurred in the High-Tech sector.

All Cases in Q3 2015 by SectorHigh-TechMedicalOther25%14.5%60.5%
SectorQ3 Litigation

Figure 9: High-Tech was the only sector in Q3 where a majority of cases were NPE-related.

Patent Litigation in '15 Q3 by Sector and EntityOtherMedicalHigh-TechNPEOperating Company0200400600800
Operating Company53143210

*Cases filed by entities other than NPEs or operating companies comprise only a nominal amount of total cases and are therefore not included here.

Figure 10: NPE litigation made up 92% of High-Tech cases in the third quarter of 2015, compared to 89.8% in the first half of 2015 and 82.5% in Q3 and Q4 of 2014.

High-Tech Litigation in Q3NPENon-NPE8%92%
EntityQ3 High Tech Litigation

Figure 11: 92.6% of High-Tech cases related to NPEs were by Patent Assertion Entities.

High-Tech Litigation by NPE TypeNPE (Patent AssertionEntity)NPE (Small Company)NPE (Individual)92.6%
NPE (Patent Assertion Entity)563
NPE (Small Company)30
NPE (Individual)15

PTAB Filings


Figure 12: PTAB petitions are projected to surpass 1,900 filings by the end of the year.

PTAB filings across the past 5 yearsPTAB2012201320142015 (projected)0500100015002000
2015 (projected)1,900

Figure 13: In 2015, 43.3% of all PTAB Petitions were filed by NPEs.

PTAB Petitions FiledNon-NPENPE2014 Q12014 Q22014 Q32014 Q42015 Q12015 Q22015 Q30150300450600
2014 Q1129102
2014 Q2309188
2014 Q3213231
2014 Q4275228
2015 Q1192248
2015 Q2207306
2015 Q3191251

Figure 14: NPE petitions accounted for 40.4% of PTAB petitions filed in the third quarter of 2015.

PTAB Petitions in Q3 2015 by TypeNPENon-NPE40.4%59.6%
EntityQ3 Petitions

PTAB Petitions by Industry


Figure 15: 61.3% of PTAB petitions in the third quarter of 2015 were High-Tech related.

PTAB Petitions in Q3 2015 by IndustryHigh-TechMedicalOther20.1%18.6%61.3%
SectorQ3 Petitions

Figure 16: In the third quarter of 2015, 61.6% of High-Tech PTAB Petitions were filed against NPE Patent Owners.

High-Tech PTAB Petitions in Q3 of 2015NPENon-NPE38.4%61.6%
EntityQ3 High-Tech Petitions


Figure 17: In Q3, 89.8% of High-Tech petitions related to NPEs were against Patent Assertion Entities.

High-Tech Petitions in Q3 by NPE TypeNPE (Patent AssertionEntity)NPE (Small Company)NPE (Individual)9.6%89.8%
EntityQ3 High Tech Petitions
NPE (Patent Assertion Entity)150
NPE (Small Company)16
NPE (Individual)1

Figure 18: Inter partes reviews (IPRs) account for 91.8% of all PTAB Petitions filed in 2015.

PTAB Petitions in 2015 by Petition TypeIPRCBMPGR7.5%91.8%
Filing TypePetitions



High Tech = Software, Hardware, Networking, etc.
Medical = Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Health Related Technologies, etc…
Other = Mechanical, Packaged Good, Sporting Equipment, etc…


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 of 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

E.D. Tex. = Eastern District of Texas
D. Del. = Delaware C.D. Cal. = Central District of California
D.N.J. = New Jersey
N.D. Cal. = 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 by < 1% compared to other reporting entities.

This includes all District Court and PTAB litigations between January 1, 2015 and September 30, 2015

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.