Richard Lloyd

Teva was the most targeted company in US patent lawsuits last year taking the top spot from Samsung as pharmaceutical companies featured heavily in the leading defendants.

The numbers come courtesy of Lex Machina’s annual review of patent litigation, which is the data analytics platform’s deep dive into the headline numbers for 2017. While the ranking of most targeted companies includes a typical blend of tech giants such as Apple, LG, Amazon, ZTE, Microsoft and Huawei, there was a significant jump in the number of pharma companies on the list - nine made the ranking, up from four last year.

As well as Teva other drug companies that featured included Mylan, Sandoz, Apotex, Amneal and Lupin. Lex Machina’s report also revealed a marked increase in ANDA litigation in 2017, with the number of cases rising from 318 in 2016 to 411 last year. That placed the volume of new suits closer to the recent highs in 2015 and 2014 when 469 and 434 new ANDA cases were filed respectively. The top plaintiffs included a large number of NPEs  but also several brand-name pharma giants such as Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

You can see the top patent litigation defendants for 2017 in the table below: 

1 Teva 49 cases
2 Apple 42 cases
3 Samsung Electronics America 37 cases
4 LG Electronics 30 cases
5 Mylan Pharmaceuticals 28 cases
6= 25 cases
6= ZTE 25 cases
8 Aurobindo Pharma USA 24 cases
9 Huawei Device USA  23 cases
10 Sandoz 22 cases
11 Microsoft  21 cases
12= Apotex 19 cases
12= HTC 19 cases
14= Amneal Pharmaceuticals 18 cases
14= Lupin 18 cases
14= Par Pharmaceutical 18 cases
14= Zydus Pharmaceuticals  18 cases

Source: Lex Machina

Many of the headline numbers for patent litigation in 2017 have already been reported. Last week, this blog did a thorough analysis of what was another down year in the US. Lex Machina’s dive goes into even greater detail and includes a look at the profound impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland. This has seen a huge chunk of cases that might have previously been filed in the Eastern District of Texas move to other districts such as Delaware.   

As in previous year’s this latest report also focuses on litigation volume across the last 10 years on a like-for-like basis in a way that accounts for the changes to the joinder rules introduced by the America Invents Act, which forced patent owners to file more patent suits separately. Using a measure which it calls defendant-case pairs, Lex Machina’s analysis shows that for the last couple of years litigation in the US has been commensurate with levels last seen in 2008 and 2009.

Among other highlights, the report also revealed an increase in the proportion of cases resulting in a claimant win; this ticked up to 6.2% from 5.5% in 2016. Defendant wins fell from 4% to 3.4%. Total damages for the year meanwhile dropped to $1.15 billion (from 140 cases), a substantial fall from just over $3.5 billion in 2016 (from 151 cases).

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