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Only a small percentage of chip patents end up in infringement enforcement

A paper on patent litigation in the semiconductor industry includes an unusual metric: “chip design firms enforce roughly 4 out of every 100 patents they own,” a rate described later as comparable for biotechnology firms but somewhat lower than for financial firms. The paper by Bronwyn Hall and Rosemary Ziedonis was delivered at the Searle Center – Legal and Regulatory Studies, Northwestern Univ. School of Law, Nov. 18, 2010, at 3. They studied 136 companies in the semiconductor industry over a 29-year period.

Such a benchmark would be hard to obtain from the law departments themselves but it is discoverable through hard work to link patent filing and patent litigation databases. As with all benchmarks, it gives a general counsel a framework to understand better something about his or her department, in this instance patent litigation brought by it and associated costs.