Time for sharp competitive intelligence

The Innovation Alliance is concluding that there is no pattern of runaway verdicts in patent cases based on its own survey of jury damages in 93 cases in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

The group, an alliance of technology companies and inventors, opposes passage of the Patent and Reform Act of 2007, which is currently under consideration by the U.S. Senate, and that among other things would limit damages in patent disputes.

The analysis was performed by the Paul Janicke, a professor at University of Houston Law Center, who gathered the list of jury damage verdicts and also looked at what happened after the jury returned the verdict.

The analysis found that in 47 of the 93 cases, the jury found damages of $2 million or more, but that judges did not necessarily “rubber stamp” these.

Of the 10 highest verdicts, four were set aside by the trial judge, one was found to be not supported by the evidence and a new trial was granted, one resulted in a settlement, one was affirmed, two resulted in increased awards based on the defendant’s conduct, and one remains under consideration.

Groups advocating for the patent reform act have noted a $600 million settlement in a long drawn-out battle between Research In Motion of Ontario, Canada, and NTP Inc., a Virginia-based patent holding company.

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