In this article, we take a look at the 12 most litigious companies in America. You can skip our detailed analysis of the corporate litigation dynamics in the US and go directly to the 5 Most Litigious Companies in America.
Legal battles have become an expensive and often unavoidable part of the business world, where companies find themselves caught up in disagreements. This results in significant financial losses, disruptions to operations, and continuous legal activity that can harm the company's reputation and how people perceive its brand.
A new study by Acritas, now part of Thomson Reuters, reveals that US companies, on average, spend approximately 0.4% of their revenue on legal services, which is a staggering 166% higher than their global counterparts.
Lisa Hart Shepherd, chief executive officer of Acritas said this:
“Generally, the US is a much more litigious country”
The enormous financial burden cripples companies, particularly smaller ones with limited resources, potentially diverting funds that could otherwise be allocated to innovation, expansion, or employee development.
In 2012, technology giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) found itself embroiled in a high-stakes patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung Electronics. After a protracted legal battle, a jury awarded Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) over $1 billion in damages, a significant blow to Samsung.
Amidst this landscape, certain courts have gained prominence for their expertise and reputation in resolving complex corporate cases. One such court is the Delaware Chancery Court. Known for its specialized knowledge and experience in corporate law, the Delaware Chancery Court attracts a wide range of litigants, including both large multinational companies and smaller entities. The court's reputation stems from its ability to handle high-stakes disputes efficiently and impartially.
A notable case that highlights the significance of the Delaware Chancery Court is the Twitter acquisition lawsuit. Twitter took legal action against Elon Musk when he backed out of the $44 billion deal to buy the social media company. However, Musk closed the deal and acquired Twitter based on the original agreement before the court's decision.
Within the litigation industry, trends in trademark, copyright, and patent infringement cases have emerged, influencing law firms and legal advisors. The 2019 Litigation Trends Annual Survey reveals a notable increase in demand for legal advisors, as indicated by a 17% growth in the size of in-house legal teams. This positive trend is accompanied by a minimal 2% decrease in team sizes. Additionally, the quantity of patent litigation cases is often influenced by economic factors, such as the general level of business activity and investment.
These industry trends provide valuable insights into the evolving landscape of litigation and the strategies adopted by companies to navigate legal challenges. As litigation continues to shape the business environment, companies must carefully consider their legal approaches and seek experienced counsel to safeguard their interests.
How Big is the Legal Industry in the US?
The market share of the legal industry in the US is approximately $373 billion. The global market value of the legal industry is $713 billion, with North America accounting for 55% of this share, with Canada having a market size of $19 billion.
Some of the top law firms in the US are Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins and DLA Piper, among others, with Kirkland & Ellis being the biggest law firm in America.
For our list, we gathered data from several reputable sources, including Nowland Law and Patexia, among others. We ranked the most litigious companies in America in ascending order based on the highest cases filed during the period from 2009 to 2023. To begin, we referred to Patexia's recent report, which listed the most litigious companies in America for the year 2023. For the remaining companies, our data was sourced from Nowland Law's report, which specifically listed litigious companies from the period of 2009 to 2016. However, we had a higher consideration for companies that were actively involved in litigation beyond the year 2016. That said, the methodology has its limitations.
Without any delay, let’s dive into our extensive compilation of the 12 most litigious companies in America:
12. Dominion Harbor
Case filed: 63
Dominion Harbor Enterprises is a prominent intellectual property transaction and advisory firm, specializing in assisting clients with their IP-related needs.
Dominion Harbor Enterprises, LLC has been actively involved in legal disputes, particularly in the area of intellectual property. Over the past five years, they have filed a total of 63 cases.
Notably, since February 2022, Dominion Harbor Enterprises has been engaged in litigation related to former Panasonic and Sony patents. These lawsuits specifically target networking devices that support various networking standards and/or Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM).
11. The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)
Cases filed: 96
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) is a globally recognized entertainment and media company known for its iconic characters, movies, and theme parks. The company engages in various sectors, including film production, television broadcasting, merchandise licensing, and interactive media.
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has taken legal action to protect its intellectual property rights and combat unauthorized use or infringement of its brands and merchandise. From 2009 to 2016, the company filed a total of 96 cases.
A notable recent case involved The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) suing a Florida-based online retailer in 2022. The company accused the retailer of selling counterfeit Disney merchandise despite receiving multiple cease-and-desist requests that were allegedly ignored.
10. Best Western International, Inc.
Cases filed: 104
Best Western International, Inc. (BWI) is an Arizona-based non-profit member corporation that operates under the well-known "Best Western" brand name. The company's members are hotel owners and operators who provide accommodation services to travelers. Best Western has established itself as a reputable and trusted brand within the hospitality industry, offering a wide range of hotels and accommodations worldwide.
Best Western International, Inc. has filed a total of 104 cases, reflecting its proactive approach to protecting its interests and reputation. One notable case emerged in 2008 when BWI initiated legal action against several unidentified individuals referred to as John Doe Defendants.
The basis of BWI's lawsuit centered around alleged defamatory and contract-breaching messages posted on an Internet website called "Freewrites.net." BWI claimed that these messages not only harmed its reputation but also violated contractual agreements. Subsequently, BWI amended its complaint to specifically name James Furber, James and Nidrah Dial, and Loren and Gayle Unruh as defendants in the case.
9. Deckers Outdoor Corporation (NYSE:DECK)
Cases filed: 164
Deckers Outdoor Corporation (NYSE:DECK) is a renowned company primarily engaged in the design, manufacture, and distribution of footwear, apparel, and accessories. The company is widely recognized for its popular brands, including UGG, Teva, Sanuk, Hoka One One, and Koolaburra.
In terms of its litigation history, Deckers Outdoor Corporation (NYSE:DECK) has been proactive in protecting its intellectual property rights and brand integrity. From 2009 to 2016, the company filed a total of 164 cases.
One notable instance involves Deckers Outdoor Corporation filing a temporary restraining order against numerous Amazon sellers. The plaintiff alleged that these sellers were producing products that infringed upon the company's intellectual property rights specifically related to the UGG brand.
8. Boost Worldwide, Inc.
Cases filed: 165
Boost Worldwide, Inc., commonly known as Boost Mobile, is an American wireless service provider that operates under the ownership of Dish Wireless. The company utilizes the network infrastructure of AT&T and T-Mobile to deliver its wireless services. Boost Mobile offers a range of mobile plans and services to customers across the United States.
Boost Worldwide, Inc. filed a total of 164 cases from 2009 to 2016, as indicated by available data. This suggests the company's active involvement in legal matters during that time period.
One recent notable case emerged when Boost Mobile initiated Federal Court proceedings against Optus, a telecommunications company, regarding the use of the word "boost" in one of Optus' marketing campaigns. Boost Mobile's founder, Peter Adderton, publicly voiced concerns about alleged trademark infringement by Optus, expressing his belief that Optus was causing embarrassment to themselves through their actions.
7. American Automobile Association, Inc. (AAA)
Case filed: 195
The American Automobile Association, Inc. (AAA), widely known as AAA or 'Triple-A,' is a renowned organization that provides a range of travel services to its members. These services include hotel bookings, car rentals, flight arrangements, cruise packages, travel information, and other related offerings.
AAA has been involved in legal disputes to protect its intellectual property rights and defend its brand reputation. From 2009 to 2016, AAA filed a total of 195 cases, indicating its proactive approach to addressing legal matters during that period.
One notable lawsuit occurred when AAA filed a trademark infringement case against AAA Tire Shop and Emad Azzam in the Alabama Southern District Court. The lawsuit was filed by the legal firms Covington & Burling and Lightfoot Law on behalf of AAA. At the time of the information provided, the defendants' counsel had not yet appeared in court.
6. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)
Case filed: 203
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is a leading technology company known for its wide range of software products, including the popular operating system Windows, productivity software like Microsoft Office, cloud services such as Azure, and various hardware devices.
In terms of its litigation history, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been involved in numerous legal disputes to protect its intellectual property rights and ensure fair competition in the market. From 2009 to 2016, the company filed a total of 203 cases, indicating its active approach to addressing legal matters.
One recent legal action occurred in 2013 when Microsoft filed a complaint against U.S. Customs to enforce a ban on the importation of mobile phones manufactured by Motorola, a company owned by Google. The ban had been issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and was intended to remain in effect until at least April 2018. However, Microsoft alleged that Google and the U.S. Customs office had engaged in secret meetings, colluding to allow the continued importation of these phones despite the ban.
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Disclosure: none. 12 Most Litigious Companies in America is originally published on Insider Monkey.