Patent cases in 2006 result in over $1 billion in damages awardedJanuary 3, 2007

According to a study released by Bloomberg, United States juries in patent cases awarded a total of over $1 billion in damages in cases that went to jury trial in 2006, the largest single year ever. The largest award went to Rambus, a California maker of computer memory chips, who won a $307 million verdict against South Korean rival Hynix Semiconductor in April, although the verdict was eventually reduced to $133 million by the judge in that case. While the overall total of awards is up, the average jury award for the top 50 verdicts was slightly down (from $8 million to $6.3 million). It is noteworthy that this figure does not include various publicized settlements in patent cases, such as the $612.5 million settlement between BlackBerry® maker Research in Motion and patent holding company NTP in March. As a very low percentage of civil cases actually go to trial (for example, in 2002, only 1.8% went to trial, more data on the decline of civil trials here), one can only speculate as to the total amount of money that changed hands as a result of patent cases in 2006 between settlements and trials combined. This is further evidence of the value of intellectual property to companies when effectively enforced.

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