Defendant Class Actions and Patent Infringement Litigation

Defendant Class Actions and Patent Infringement Litigation

By Matthew K. K. Sumida*

*Information Resource Editor, UCLA Law Review, Volume 58. J.D. Candidate, UCLA School of Law, 2011; B.S., University of Southern California, 2004

Excerpt from Defendant Class Actions and Patent Infringement Litigation, 58 UCLA L. Rev. 843 (February 2011)


Defendant class actions were recognized as a valid procedural tool as early as 1853, when the U.S. Supreme Court permitted the use of a defendant class based on common law rules of equity. 2 This doctrine was codified in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which maintains that a class member "may sue or be sued" on behalf of a class. 3 In the years following the adoption of Rule 23, courts widely recognized that defendant class actions are permitted and consistent with the Advisory Committee's objectives of economies of time, effort, and expense, and uniformity of decisions. 4

The defendant class action mechanism possesses three distinct procedural advantages. First, defendant class actions serve economic goals by conserving judicial resources and private litigation costs. From the plaintiff's perspective, the need to relitigate the same question in multiple suits is avoided by consolidating a large number of parties and defenses in a single proceeding; without the defendant class action tool, a plaintiff would be compelled to sue each defendant individually. 5 In addition, from the defendant's perspective, a defendant class action confers economy of scale benefits for the litigation. 6 Second, defendant class actions enforce the substantive policy behind the law. 7 From the plaintiff's perspective, defendant class actions make it economically feasible to prosecute low-stakes claims that would otherwise be cost prohibitive. 8 Similarly, the cost of defending a lawsuit in the absence of a defendant class action might lead defendants with legitimate defenses to default or to ... subscribers can access the full text of Defendant Class Actions and Patent Infringement Litigation

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  • 04-13-2011

If your patent has been infringed, and you are about to enter into patent infringement lawsuit, you need to know that you are entering into a very risky venture. In addition to being expensive, it is a process that can take years. And you could still go to trial and lose!