Citing 2005LegalMetric’s January 5, 2006 press release, William Heinze, in his blog, I/P Updates, writes that “the number of new patent infringement cases in the U.S. dropped 10 percent in 2005 for the first time in ten years.” Presumably, that means the first drop in the number of such filings in a decade. By contrast, LegalMetric states that the trademark cases increased from 2004’s level. Heinze usefully shares data from that company on historical plaintiff win rates that they use in a calculator: 59.3 percent for patent cases; 87.2 percent for trademark cases; and 85.5 percent for copyright cases.
We all hear about the “litigation explosion” and the spiraling cost of lawsuits. To the degree either phenomenon is true, the legal industry needs facts and figures to corroborate or contradict that received wisdom. More specifically, astute general counsel deserve to know whether their department’s experience reflects secular trends or departs from the norm.