NPE Activity Report: Mobile Litigation

NPEs Were Responsible for 90.8% of All Mobile Litigation 2012 - 2016

In a recent study, Unified examined patent litigation from 2012 - 2016 involving mobile devices and services. The study revealed that from 2012 to 2016, NPEs accounted for an overwhelming 90.8 percent of all mobile litigation. A detailed explanation of the technologies covered by this study can be found in Unified's Mobile Zone definition.

Patent litigation in the mobile zone reached a record high in 2013 with 403 new cases being filed that year. The number of new cases decreased slightly to 316 in 2014 and then rose again to 319 in 2015.

Overall, Mobile Features/Functions is the most frequently litigated category comprising 28.6 percent of all mobile patent litigation. Additionally, about 26.1 percent of new cases involve OS & Applications, 25.5 percent involve Baseband, RF & Channel Processing, 10.6 percent involve Communication Protocols/Standards, and 9.2 percent involve Connectivity.  For more details about these categories, see Unified's Mobile Zone definition.


Unified looked at all major mobile carriers, manufacturers and suppliers by revenue since 2012.
Total number of reported cases can vary. Unified made its best attempt to eliminate mistaken or duplicative filings.
Statistics include litigations initiated by NPEs or Declaratory Judgments (DJs) initiated by operating companies against NPEs.
Unified strives to accurately identify NPE through all available means, such as court filings, public documents, and product documentation.


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.
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.