For nearly 20 years, the Eastern District of Texas has built a reputation as a friendly venue when it comes to awarding compensatory damages in patent infringement litigation. A recent report by a legal analytics firm has confirmed what many lawyers already know: The Eastern District is king when it comes to returning IP judgment cash.
The report from Silicon Valley’s Lex Machina looked at nearly 14 years of patent filings across the country. The report stressed the unlikely chances of winning a compensatory damage recovery in a patent case; of the 36,629 patent cases filed and terminated from 2000 until 2013, only 708 of them (less than 2 percent) resulted in compensatory damage awards.
However, noting that caveat, the Eastern District led the nation in the total of compensatory awards—by a large margin. The Eastern District generated the highest total dollar amount of compensatory damages: $5 billion in 84 cases. That’s out of the $13 billion awarded nationally.
“Because of the case volume, patent litigators across the country are familiar that patent litigation is a cottage industry in the Eastern District of Texas. Given the sheer volume of patent litigation in the Eastern District, it’s no surprise that it leads the nation in most of the calculation of patent litigation damages,” said Owen Byrd, “chief evangelist” and general counsel of Lex Machina, the company that released the report last month.
“The fact that there have been 84 awards of compensatory damages in the Eastern District, that’s significantly beyond” the jurisdiction with the next highest total dollar amount of compensatory damages, he said.
The venue that generated the next highest total awards of compensatory damages was the Western District of Pennsylvania: seven cases with compensatory damages totaling just more than $1 billion.
Judges, Firms at the Top
Four of the seven U.S. district court judges who had the highest total of compensatory damages awarded in their courtrooms were from the Eastern District, the report also showed.
U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider of the Tyler Division had nine cases, with a total of $2.3 billion in compensatory damages.
Retired U.S. District Judge T. John Ward of the Marshall Division had 19 cases, worth a total of $1 billion.
Leonard Davis, chief judge of the Eastern District of Texas, had 18 cases, worth $956 million.
U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Marshall Division had 15 cases, worth $670 million.
Naturally, several Texas-based law firms show up on the report’s list of the top 10 firms nationwide that received the total highest dollar amount of compensatory damages for their clients.
Dallas’ McKool Smith came in third, with 23 compensatory damage awards totaling more than $2 billion.
Tyler’s Ireland, Carroll & Kelley came in sixth, with 17 compensatory damage awards totaling $277 million.
Longview’s Ward & Smith came in 10th, with 15 compensatory damage awards totaling $512 million.