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A couple of points on data about awards to patent holders – trolls vs. practicing entities

A chart in a discussion of data compiled by PriceWaterhouseCooopers, January 2010, Corp. Counsel, March 2010 at 50, shows that during 2002-08, median damages awarded non-practicing entities (trolls) were $12 million, almost three times the damages awarded practicing entities. Note the phrase “damages awarded.”

Perhaps the differential is because companies with ongoing businesses seek outcomes other than just cash payments. Perhaps trolls have no assets of their own so counter-claims cannot lower the eventual award. Perhaps trolls choose their patents and defendants more carefully than do operating competitors.

Besides, I thought the anger of operating companies sued by trolls is the extraction from them of extortionate settlements, not judgments awarded after a trial. Assuming a fair judiciary and jury, a controversial assumption to be sure in some parts of Texas, a court award legitimates the troll’s claim.

This blogger has crossed the bridge over trolls before (See my post of Jan. 20, 2006: “trolls” accounted for only about two percent of litigation; April 9, 2006: from patent trolls to secret agent patents; Oct. 29, 2006: Qualcomm’s business model; May 13, 2007: Microsoft and litigation against patent trolls; June 25, 2008: five principles to fend off patent trolls; and Feb. 1, 2010: patent trolls operate in Germany.).