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Lawsuits & Litigation

Lex Machina’s Annual Patent Litigation Report: Decline in Case Filings

— February 19, 2019

District of Delaware was the top district for all patent and ANDA case filings; District courts awarded more than $1.4 billion dollars in patent damages in 2018; Apple Inc. and Google LLC were the most sued patent defendants in 2018; Juul Labs is a new High Volume Plaintiff in patent litigation cases.

Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company and creator of the award-winning Legal Analytics® platform, released its sixth annual Patent Litigation Report at the end of January – its most comprehensive report on patent litigation trends to date. The report illustrates data-driven issues and trends in federal district court patent case filings, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) administrative hearings and Hatch-Waxman/ANDA cases.

According to the data, 2018 saw a decline in new patent, PTAB, and ANDA case filings across the board. Patent case filings in federal district court fell for the third year in a row to 3,657 cases, reaching a new low not seen since 2011. PTAB filings were down substantially in 2018 to 1,718 cases, with the fewest petitions filed in since 2014. While ANDA filings have generally increased since 2009, there were fewer ANDA case filings in 2018 (396 cases) than in 2017 (417 cases), but still more than those filed in 2016 (325 cases).

Other highlights include:

  • The District of Delaware (D.Del) has become the top venue for patent litigation as a result of C. Heartland v. Kraft Foods. D.Del. captured nearly 25% of all new patent case filings in 2018.
  • Conversely, new patent case filings in the Eastern District of Texas (E.D.Tex.) fell in 2018 from about 21% in 2017 to 14% in 2018. However, Judge James Rodney Gilstrap (E.D.Tex.) still presided over the most patent case filings in the country (9%), followed by Judge Leonard Philip Stark (D.Del., 6%).
  • Del. hosted half of all ANDA cases filed in 2018, by far the most of any other jurisdiction, followed by the District of New Jersey (more than 35%).
  • More than $1.4 billion dollars in patent damages were awarded in 2018, the most awarded since 2014. The increase is attributable to two large awards totaling $900 million collectively.
  • The most active parties in 2018 patent litigation filings were Uniloc and PersonalWeb Technologies for plaintiffs and Apple and Google for defendants, with Google defending the most suits brought by High Volume Plaintiffs (entities filing more than 10 lawsuits per year). Juul Labs and The Electric Tobacconist, LLC – both members of the nicotine vaping industry – each joined the most active parties lists in 2018.
  • Celgene, newly acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb, was the most active ANDA plaintiff in 2018, with retailers Kroger and Walgreens joining the list.
  • District courts ruled on fewer injunctions in 2018 than in recent years, suggesting a change in strategy.

“Patent litigators often feel the effects of key judicial rulings, such as T.C. Heartland, SAS Institute, and Oil States, differently depending on the location, size, or focus of their practice. Now, we have real numbers illustrating possible effects of these rulings,” said Geneva Clark, Legal Data Expert at Lex Machina. “This report provides current, granular insights that practitioners and corporations can leverage for more effective strategy in litigation this year.”

Graph of patent case filings from 1/1/2009 to 12/31/2018; image courtesy of Lex Machina.
Graph of patent case filings from 1/1/2009 to 12/31/2018; image courtesy of Lex Machina.

The Patent Litigation Report analyzes filing trends, key decisions and timing metrics, as well as damages and other data. It shows top districts by case filings and percentage, top parties and law firms, and damages metrics including top jury awards. It also includes PTAB filings, trends in instituted and final written decisions, and top PTAB law firms.

The report data was compiled using Lex Machina’s award-winning Legal Analytics® platform, which is used by many of the top law firms in the U.S., and major corporations such as eBay, Facebook, General Motors, Microsoft, and Nike. Armed with the report, patent attorneys can make better strategic decisions based on detailed analyses of districts and judges. They can also make sound budgeting decisions using historical data about the timing summary judgment, and identify top parties and firms, to guide marketing strategies and outside counsel selection.

About Lex Machina
Lex Machina’s award-winning Legal Analytics® platform is a new category of legal technology that fundamentally changes how companies and law firms compete in the business and practice of law. Delivered as Software-as a-Service, Lex Machina provides strategic insights on judges, lawyers, parties, and more, mined from millions of pages of legal information. This allows law firms and companies to predict the behaviors and outcomes that different legal strategies will produce, enabling them to win cases and close business.

Lex Machina was named “Best Legal Analytics” by readers of The Recorder in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and received the “Best New Product of the Year” award in 2015 from the American Association of Law Libraries. It was recently named a 2017 “Legal A.I. Leader” by the National Law Journal, and a finalist in Legalweek’s 2018 Product Innovation Award competition.

Based in Silicon Valley, Lex Machina is part of LexisNexis, a leading information provider and a pioneer in delivering trusted legal content and insights through innovative research and productivity solutions, supporting the needs of legal professionals at every step of their workflow. By harnessing the power of Big Data, LexisNexis provides legal professionals with essential information and insights derived from an unmatched collection of legal and news content—fueling productivity, confidence, and better outcomes. For more information, please visit

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