Trend of Patent lawsuits are increasing drametically. According to sources, the total amount awarded in 2006 is $1 billion. Compared to $379 million which was awarded in 2005, this is almost a threefold increase.
The top winner of the year was Rambus who won the case over Hynix Semiconductor with $307 million. Rambus has a ton of patents on their list.
Even though there are pros/cons on having the patent concept, it seems companies are willing to goto courts to protect their technologies while few companies do it for the sake of grabbing some money from a company who misuses a technology or concept.