2011 saw the largest-ever number of patent infringement actions filed—4,015—according to PricewaterhouseCooper’s recently-released 2012 Patent Litigation Study. This was a 22 percent growth over 2010.

The study notes that counsel should keep an eye on damages assessments, something courts have been paying a lot of attention to. From 2006 to 2011, the median damages award was $4 million, but already in 2012, two awards of about $1 billion each have already been given.

“Enormous damages awards continue to garner headlines and keep corporate management keenly aware of the risks of potential infringement, as well as the rewards of enforcing patent rights,” Chris Barry, a partner in PwC’s Forensic Services practice, said in a statement. “With the courts paying more attention to damages methodologies and calculations, patent litigation counsel and damages experts should monitor ongoing rulings that could affect damages opinions.”

The study also noted that damages awards from juries tend to be larger than those that come from the bench—the median jury award from 2006 to 2011 was 20 times larger than the median bench award in the same time period.


Check out some other large damages awards covered in InsideCounsel:

Woman to pay $9,250 per song in file-sharing case

“Girls Gone Wild” creator must pay $20 million to Steve Wynn

Apple beats Samsung in patent case

Toshiba will pay $87 million for price fixing