By Dan Levine
Feb 27 (Reuters) - More publicly traded companies are
planning to increase spending on intellectual property
litigation over the next 12 months than compared to any other
practice area, a new survey of general counsels and heads of
litigation has found.
In addition, more retailers are bracing for an uptick in
patent litigation in the coming year than companies in any other
sector, even technology companies, according to the study,
conducted by law firm Fulbright & Jaworksi.
The survey of 392 companies found that 24 percent of
retailers believe they will be involved in increased patent
litigation in the coming 12 months compared to the previous same
Overall, just 9 percent of respondents in various sectors
expected an increase in patent lawsuits, while 85 percent
expected the level of patent litigation to stay the same.
The smartphone patent wars, which have pitted Apple Inc
against rival phone and tablet makers such as Samsung
Electronics in court fights around the globe, have grabbed
But there are many other types of IP fights, such as those
involving retail outlets, notes Fulbright & Jaworski partner
In terms of overall litigation budgets, 19 percent of
publicly traded companies surveyed said they planned to spend
more on IP litigation than in the prior year.
In technology, 16 percent of survey respondents expected an
increase in patent litigation spending, while other industries
such as financial services and energy were in single-digit
About 17 percent of public companies expected to spend more
on labor and employment matters, while 15 percent expected it
would be on regulatory issues and e-discovery.
By contrast, only 8 percent of privately held companies
thought they would spend more on IP disputes in the next year,
while 13 percent believed they would spend more on contracts and
11 percent estimated an increase in labor and employment
Large companies are three times more likely to enforce their
patents than small companies, Walker said, so the potential
uptick in patent litigation spending could be a reflection of
the increased emphasis public companies have been placing on
"Many companies have put off litigation spends and legal
spend where they could," Walker said, "but we may be coming to a
point where there's more value to unlock in IP than compared to
the cost savings to putting it off further."
For companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue,
26 percent say defending IP cases has cost an average of over $1
million per lawsuit. Only 5 percent of companies with less than
$100 million in revenue have averaged that much in IP litigation
costs, while the figure for medium-size companies is 14 percent.
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