Overall, patenting has been slowing down since the beginning of the decade, according to a report by a U.S. IP boutique, Finnegan Henderson. The report also notes that biotech and pharmaceutical patentees are winning an increasing number of cases in US district courts. Between 2000 and 2003, the percent of cases won by the patentee fell below 50 percent each year, but in 2004 the patentee won 71 percent of the decisions. IP Law Bulletin, July 20, 2005
Perhaps 2004’s banner year for patentee’s was only a positive blip, or an artifact of statistics such as that there were only a few cases each year and a swing of one or two made the difference. But a 40 percent jump from the run rate of less than 50% victorious looms large.
Maybe less-than-meritorious patent infringement suits have lost their charm; maybe large firms, having swallowed the minnows of patent boutiques, have more litigation experience on behalf of their large, patentee clients; maybe Daubert is biting; maybe the high tech bust means less chaos in the high tech patent field; maybe consolidation in the pharma industry has created more clout among the defendant patentee giants; maybe I have no idea. (See my posts of March 29, May 1 and 4, 2005 on patent litigation costs.)