IAM Patent 1000 2021

Patents are essential business commodities and knowing how to obtain, enforce and monetise them has become mission critical. The IAM Patent 1000 has firmly established itself as the definitive ‘go-to’ resource for those seeking to identify world-class, private practice patent expertise.

United States: National

2020 was a red-letter year in terms of large patent damages awards in the United States; multiple verdicts of $100 million-plus were handed down by the courts and then $1.9 billion was awarded in October to Centripetal arising out of its dispute with Cisco over network protection technology. The overall...

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2020 was a red-letter year in terms of large patent damages awards in the United States; multiple verdicts of $100 million-plus were handed down by the courts and then $1.9 billion was awarded in October to Centripetal arising out of its dispute with Cisco over network protection technology. The overall volume of patent lawsuits also rose in 2020 after several years of decline – and a particularly big fall in 2019 – as did the number of PTAB petitions. How 2021 will play out remains to be seen, but March brought news of a huge $2.2 billion jury trial win for VLSI Technology against Intel in the Western District of Texas, making litigation increasingly attractive from the perspective of licensors. On the filing side, the full impact of covid-19 won’t be known for some time, but while the pandemic certainly slowed things down for a period, 2020 saw the overall number of applications increase by 5% over 2019. Technology and life sciences companies have put in measures that enable their innovators to continue working unaffected, as far as possible, by social distancing measures, and there are spheres of innovation that have exploded as a result of covid-19, particularly the life sciences, but also software. The economic downturn induced by the pandemic may, on the other hand, bring down R&D budgets and reduce filing activity. Meanwhile, the departure from office of USPTO director Andrei Iancu had people reflecting on progress over his term with respect to Section 101 and changes to PTAB practice. Regarding the former, Iancu updated the USPTO’s examination guidelines but continued uncertainty was fuelled by decision making at the Federal Circuit which, in Cleveland Clinic v True Health explicitly stated it was not bound by the PTO’s guidance. While numbers in 2019 indicated a drop in 101 rejections for applications for artificial intelligence from 60 to 32% and, more recently, grants of diagnostic patents have been climbing, legislative reform remains on the agenda. Regarding practice at the PTAB, 2020 saw a marked increase in the use of discretionary denials, bringing the inter partes review institution rate down in a win for the patent-owning community.

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