Patent troll


Patent troll rising

Former head of the USPTO, David J. Kappos, wrote about the Goodlatte anti-patent troll bill: “[T]he ‘sky is falling’ mentality increasingly prevalent in IP discourse must be put into context. Patent litigation is nothing new.” But is there actually something that has changed about the system? According to a study by Patent Freedom, there may just be. The report says companies identified as patent trolls sued 11 percent more companies in 2013 than 2012, and filed 18 percent more lawsuits altogether.

3,134 patent troll suits in 2013, more than half of all patent suits

40% increase in patent troll suits between 2007 and 2011, showing that this has been a continuing problem

Lawyer women

Boys club?

It’s not just gender equality activists looking for more women on boards — studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between a gender-diversified board and long-term financial performance. But a recent study by Catalyst shows that companies aren’t yet giving in to the gender-diversity argument. According to a report, “2013 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board Directors,” women held only 16.9 percent of board seats in 2013. That was an increase of only 0.3 percent over 2012.

<20% of boards had at least 25 percent female directors

3.2% of board seats were held by women of color

>66% of corporate boards held no women of color

Securities class action


Class in session

Securities class action filings were up in 2013, but it might not have been the litigation boom that some lawyers may have been looking for. According to information released on Jan. 28 by Cornerstone Research, securities class actions rebounded in the second half of 2013 to produce a 9 percent increase in total filings over 2012. However, that figure still produced the third-lowest number of securities class action filings in the past 15 years, and Supreme Court action on “fraud on the market” cases in March could push the number even lower in 2014.

166 securities class action lawsuits in 2013

21% of all securities class action suits were in the healthcare and biotechnology industries

11% of all securities class action suits targeted the financial industry



Breach for sale

How secure is your credit card information? That depends: How much do you trust the companies at which you make purchases? If one of those companies was high-end retailer Neiman Marcus, and you shopped there between July 16 and Oct. 30, 2013, there is a good chance your credit card may be compromised. Neiman Marcus reported on Jan. 22 that nearly 1.1 million credit cards may have been compromised by a security breach at both Neiman Marcus and clearance chain Last Call. According to malicious software in the company’s system led to card number, but not PIN number, information being stolen.

2,400 credit cards from Neiman Marcus customers that have been used improperly

40 million debit and credit cards breached in Target’s similar data breach from December

Cloud technology


Up and away

Has your company or firm embraced the use of cloud technology in your everyday habits? As it turns out, you’re not alone, as the legal industry is slowly moving into the 21st century. A study from the LexisNexis Firm Manager group reveals that 72 percent of practicing attorneys at U.S. independent law firms are more likely to use cloud services in 2014 than in the preceding year. “While it’s taken the legal industry a bit longer than other industries to come around to the cloud, client expectations for collaborative services, combined with the efficiency, accessibility, and lower total cost are driving the independent attorney to adopt the cloud,” Loretta Ruppert, senior director for community management at the LexisNexis Firm Manager group, said in a statement.

40% of practicing U.S. attorneys in independent law firms already use cloud tools

33% increase in the number of attorneys using cloud-based tools in 2013 as compared to 2012

40% of attorneys surveyed believe cloud tools will eclipse premise-based solutions in three to five years