Policy Practicum: Empirical Study of Patent Troll Litigation
Many believe litigation by patent trolls-those in the business of asserting patents rather than making products-is rampant and has harmed innovation and raised consumer prices. This concern has spread to Congress and the U.S. Patent Office, which are considering new regulation of patent trolls. However, there remains insufficient data to determine the amount and impact of patent troll litigation. Students are producing the first patent litigation database to identify the type of patent plaintiffs involved in each lawsuit over a multi-year period. When complete, the data will cover each filed lawsuit from 2000 to the present. Students’ principal responsibility will be to identify and code patent plaintiffs by type, but they are also invited to work with Dr. Miller to utilize this experience and the database for their own scholarly work.The database will be a valuable tool to help litigators and judges understand who is suing in their cases. Its greatest impact, however, should be informing scholars and policy makers considering patent reform of the actual scope of the activity of patent trolls—those in the business of asserting patents rather than making products and who consequently may theoretically harm innovation.