This year’s patent litigation survey is up on IPLB.com (free registration required). Here, I want to include a note about our methodology and the nature of this survey. The patent litigation survey is an attempt to simply measure which law firms handle the most patent litigation in district courts, and this year (for the first time) at the appellate level.
We’ve refined how we try to measure this over the years; one result of those improvements is that comparing our surveys year to year isn’t an exact apples-to-apples comparison.
This year, there’s one major change worth noting here: we counted only patent cases filed in 2007 that were alive for at least two months. Last year, we counted patent cases filed in 2006 that were still alive in February 2007. Both rules are attempts to discount here-today, gone-tomorrow lawsuits. This year's method is more consistent, but probably resulted in slightly higher counts all around.
Two other things to keep in mind:
- We don’t differentiate between lawsuits. On our chart, a law firm that works a defense case that settles in three months gets the same credit as a case where a firm will see a client through a lawsuit that includes years of no-holds-barred court battles.
- We don’t count defendants. Big multi-defendant lawsuits are counted just once for a plaintiff, and count individually for the defense law firms. (but a defense law firm gets one “point” for the lawsuit, whether it defended 10 clients or just one.)
It’s worth mentioning here a different survey that did count defendants, the only one I am aware of—the data gathered by former Patent Troll Tracker blogger Rick Frenkel. He estimated a dramatic 31.5% increase in the number of defendants sued last year. His numbers are worth re-considering; I will re-publish them in my next post. Tomorrow, I'll put up some extra analysis of my own.