Aug 28, 2019Legal
Patexia Insight 69: Best IPR Firms and Attorneys of 2019

Over the last few weeks, we have been covering some of the firms and law firms with the largest growth or decline in IPR activity over the last five years. We are very delighted to announce the release of our IPR Intelligence Report Report - 2019 Edition earlier this morning. This comprehensive report covers 8,107 IPR petitions filed in a 5-year period from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2019. While the report covers up to 500 most active law firms, attorneys, companies and judges involved in IPR, this week, we plan to cover the highlights from the report, including some of the top attorneys and law firms, representing the petitioners or patent owners.

                           

Over the last five years, a total of 8,107 petitions have been filed (July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2019). Year-over-year filing peaked at 1,725 in 2017. Since then, we have observed a slight decline. This follows the decline in the district court activity with a lag of about 12 months (Patexia Insight 60). However, as we reported in Patexia Insight 64, district court litigation rose 22 percent in Q2 of 2019, which may be an indication of further growth for IPR in 2020.

Settlement rate has gone up 9 percentage points, from 16 percent in 2014 to 25 percent in 2017. And it seems to be heading even higher for cases filed in 2018. As a result, both Institution Denial and Final Written Decisions have fallen as much as 4 percentage points over the same period. Overall, out of 6,338 cases that were completed during this period (i.e., denied, settled or received the final decision as of this writing), 43 percent have been denied institution, 22 percent have been settled, and 35 have reached the Final Written Decision.

Pharma and life science IPRs, related to IPC code A61K are the second most popular, trailing IPRs related to digital data processing patents (IPC code G06F).

During the five-year reporting period, a total of 5,005 unique patents and 83,233 unique claims were challenged by 8,107 IPRs. So far, this has resulted in institution and invalidation of 42,718 and 21,488 claims, respectively.

The following table summarizes the total number of law firms, attorneys, companies and judges who were active and worked on one or more of the 8,107 IPR petitions over this 5-year period. The table also covers the maximum and average number of cases filed / handled by each.

 

 TotalMax CasesAvg. Cases
All Law Firms94182321
Law Firms (Petitioners)49249320
Law Firms (Patent Owners)78437213
All Attorneys52583289
Attorneys (Petitioners)3,3152578
Attorneys (Patent Owners)3,4621307
All Companies3,2654135
Petitioners1,4054076
Patent Owners2,1201144
Admin Judges20411936

 

As you can see, thousands of IP professionals were active and played various roles in this relatively new practice area (less than 10 years old), with an estimated market size of between $600 million to $800 million per year.

While the full report ranks and calculates the activity and performance of up to 500 most active companies, law firms, attorneys and judges (there are only about 200 judges), here we will cover some of the highlights and surprises for law firms and attorneys, representing patent owners and petitioners in this year’s report.

Highlights and Surprises Among Law Firms and Attorneys (in Alphabetical Order)

  1. Alston & Bird with a total of 193 cases, ranked high in all 6 categories with two of its partners, Lauren Burrow and Michael Connor, taking the first position as the Best Performing IPR attorneys for representing patent owners.
  2. Banner & Witcoff with a total of 185 cases, was the 7th Best Performing firm for representing patent owners. In Patexia Insight 68, we covered that Brad Wright had the largest growth over the last five years. The firm is also among the most active firms overall (ranked 22nd).
  3. Buchanan Ingersoll, with a total of 64 cases, was ranked the 2nd Best Performing firm, for representing patent owners and the 4th Best Performing firm overall.
  4. Carmichael IP with a total of 40 cases, was one of the surprises for this year. The firm ranked the Best Performing firm for representing patent owners. James Carmichael, the founder of the firm, is a former PTAB judge, who started his firm after leaving the USPTO. This may explain his good performance when it comes to representing his clients.
  5. Dentons with a total of 42 cases, ranked 5th for overall performance and maintained their position as one of the top 10 Best Performing firms on the petitioner side. Kevin Greenleaf, the key attorney for the PTAB work at Dentons, also maintained his ranking as one of the top 10 Best Performing IPR attorneys overall.
  6. Etheridge Law Group with a total of 138 cases, was the second surprise for this year’s report. The firm moved up to the 7th position among the most active firms for representing patent owners. Ryan Loveless who works for Etheridge Law Group with 130 cases, was the most active attorney for representing patent owners.
  7. Haynes & Boone with a total of 237 cases, moved up in multiple categories . The firm is ranked the 12th Best Performing firm on the peitioner side in 2019. They are also the 10th Most Active firm on the petitioner side with 205 cases, which makes it even more impressive as it shows their consistent quality of work over more than 200 cases. Overall, they are the 15th most active firm. David McComb, a partner of the firm, is the 7th Most Active attorney on the petitioner side.
  8. Kirkland & Ellis with a total of 290 cases, was the 10th most active firm overall (moved up from 13th last year). The firm’s performance has also improved significantly compared to prior years. This year, the firm is the 21st Best Performing firm for representing petitioners and it is the 26th Best Performing firm overall (compared to 38th last year).
  9. Lowenstein & Weatherwax with a total of 125 cases, remained as one of the best performing firms for representing patent owners. In terms of activity, the firm is the 9th most active firm for the patent owner work. Ken Weatherwax, one of the founders of the firm, is the 3rd most active IPR attorney for representing patent owners.
  10. Perkins Coie with a total of 311 cases, is one of the top 10 most active firms. The firm is the 7th most active overall and the 9th most active for representing the petitioners
  11. Polsinelli with a total of 94 cases, is the 3rd Best Performing firm on the petitioner side and the 8th overall. Last year the firm was ranked 4th on the petitioner side and 11th overall. James Murphy and Henry Petri, two partners of the firm, are ranked 20th and 21th best attorneys for representing petitioners, respectively.
  12. Quinn Emanuel with 237 cases, is rapidly moving up. A few years ago, the firm did not have much activity but this year, they are among the top 10 most active firms (ranked 9th by activity). On the Patent Owner side, the firm is ranked 4th by activity. And on the petitioner side, the firm is ranked 14th Best Performing firm. Jim Glass, a partner of the firm, is the 9th most active attorney when it comes to representing patent owners. And Kevin Johnson, another renowned partner of the firm, is the 7th Best Performing IPR attorney overall.
  13. Sterne Kessler with a total of 646 cases, was at the top in many categories. The firm was the most active firm on the patent owner side (2nd overall and 3rd on the peitioner side). The firm has one of the largest PTAB groups. Robert Sterne, one of the founders, together with Jason Eisenberg, another partner of the firm, were the 4th most active attorneys for representing patent owners. Jason was also the 7th most active IPR attorney overall.
  14. Wolf Greenfield with a total of 120 cases, moved up significantly from last year. The firm has been among the best performing and most active firms for the last few years. However, this year, the firm moved from the 41st Best Performing firm for representing petitioners to the 15th. The firm has also been ranked 15th Best Performing firm overall.

The full 90-page PDF report, covering numerous IPR statistics and the Top 100 in six categories, together with an Excel file, which covers up to 500 most active companies, law firms and attorneys, is now available and can be downloaded immediately from Patexia IPR Report 2019 page upon purchase. If your firm had already pre-ordered the report or if you are a member of Patexia Concierge, you can simply download it by logging in to the site and clicking the “Download” button on the report page.

In the following weeks, we will gradually turn our attention towards the International Trade Commision(ITC) Section 337 cases. We plan to cover various statistics about this important venue for patent litigation as we prepare to publish our first ITC Intelligence Report later this year. With the rise of tension between China and the US, and intellectual property as one of the key issues discussed between the two countries, ITC may become the perfect tool for companies looking for injunction. We expect that the ITC activity increases in the following years as it is a very powerful tool for negotiation and a way for potentially demanding higher damages (assuming there is a district court case in parallel).

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