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 selected for this course will work with renowned patent law scholar Mark Lemley and Law, Science & Technology Teaching Fellow Shawn Miller to complete the first patent litigation database to comprehensively identify the type of patent plaintiff involved in each lawsuit and, thus, reveal the complexity and scope of patent troll activity.
Nearing completion, the database covers each lawsuit filed from 2000 to the present, with approximately 36,000 cases coded so far. In addition to helping policy makers, the database will be a valuable tool to help inventors, litigators, and judges understand who is suing in their cases. Its greatest impact will take place during the 2016-17 academic year when the database will be opened to public, legal, and scholarly use. In unveiling the database for use, students will refine and publish a major policy paper and organize a national conference of scholars and policy makers who are focused on patent reform.
Though voluntary, Professor Lemley and Dr. Miller also encourage and aid students in utilizing this experience and the database for their own scholarly work. Several current students are writing law review notes and articles based on this research.
Inside Stanford Lawyer Magazine
Client: None (Impact: National)
Deliverable: Comprehensive, publicly accessible patent litigation database
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 database will cover each filed lawsuit from 2000 to the present, providing 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.