Internet of Things: 2017 Litigation Update


From 2012 to 2017, NPE litigation activity for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies remained consistently high (between 85% and 98% of all IoT litigation). After reaching a record number of new IoT litigations in 2016, new filings in 2017 returned to pre-2016 levels. While litigation involving most IoT technologies either decreased or saw marginal increases in 2017, the proporation of IoT litigation over Communication Protocols & Networking increased from 3% (2016) to 44% (2017).

Figure 1: Despite recent shifts in patent litigation filings, NPEs continue to account for over 85% of all IoT litigation.

Figure 2: IoT litigation has decreased along with overall filings, albeit at a slower rate. However, the percent change in 2017 is due in large part to the record number of IoT litigations in 2016 whereas overall patent litigation declined more steadily in 2016 and 2017.

Figures 3: The proportion of Communication Protocols & Networking cases increased 10% between 2016 and 2017 while other IoT Technologies either decreased or saw marginal increases.

Figure 4: The proportion of IoT litigation involving Communication Protocols & Networking litigation increased in 2017 as other IoT technologies saw little change. For more information about these results, see Unified's IoT Zone definition.

Figure 5: NPEs were involved in over 86% of all IoT litigation in 2017.

Figure 6: Top NPE Litigants in the IoT Zone 2012-2017

  1. Pragmatus Telecom LLC (82)
  2. Penovia LLC (71)
  3. Innovative Wireless Solutions LLC (66)
  4. Olivistar, LLC (63)
  5. Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations, LLC (60)
  6. Wetro Lan LLC (56)
  7. Adaptive Data, LLC (52)
  8. 911 Notify LLC (42)
  9. UrgenSync, LLC (33)
  10. Canatelo, LLC (30)

Figure 7: Many PAEs are controlled by larger entities, or Parents, who regularly assert. The top 5 entities for 2012-2017 are listed below.

  1. IP Edge LLC (215)
  2. Leigh M. Rothschild (83)
  3. Pragmatus (82)
  4. Innovative Wireless Solutions LLC (66)
  5. Adaptive Data, LLC (52)


The following designations are used to identify entities involved in patent disputes. Aggregators such as IP Edge and Dominion Harbor are counted as PAEs but because of obscure ownership we do not break them out. 
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.


This report includes all District Court litigation between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2017. Statistics include litigations initiated by NPEs or Declaratory Judgments (DJs) initiated by operating companies against NPEs. Total number of reported cases can vary. Unified made its best attempt to eliminate mistaken or duplicative filings.

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