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Another update on the costs of patent litigation, by amount at risk

“In 2005, the typical litigation costs for patent infringement suits with less than $1 million at risk was $650,000; with $1 million to $25 million at risk was $2 million; and with $25 million or more at risk was $4.5 million.” This quote regarding the costs to plaintiffs who allege infringement of a patent comes from Vincent Napoleon, general counsel of Digene, in InsideCounsel, July 2006, at 14 and has no citation.

As these figures stand, who would bring an infringement action if only a paltry million dollars or so were at stake? Even more, because Napoleon volunteers that “patent holders in infringement suits have about a 50 percent win rate.” Whereas, for huge stakes, the litigation costs do not rise commensurately.

There are some earlier figures for patent litigation. An article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (August 26, 2003) by Richard P. Beem updated AIPLA findings: $797,000 through discovery and $1,499,000 through trial. That marked a 25 percent increase over five years in the cost of tried patent cases. (See my posts about patent litigation costs on March 6, 10, 29, and May 1, 2005.).