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Stanford Law School Launches Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse

Publication Date: 
December 08, 2008
Stanford Law School

—Legal Innovation in IP Infrastructure—

STANFORD, Calif., December 8, 2008—The Law, Science & Technology Program at Stanford Law School today launched the Stanford Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse (IPLC), a first-of-its-kind online database that offers comprehensive information about intellectual property disputes within the United States. This publicly available, online research tool will enable scholars, policymakers, lawyers, judges, and journalists to review real-time data about IP legal disputes that have been filed across the country, and ultimately to analyze the efficacy of the system that regulates patents, copyrights, trademarks, antitrust, and trade secrets.

The Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse database includes real-time data summaries, industry indices, and trend analysis together with a full-text search engine, providing detailed and timely information that cannot be found elsewhere in the public domain. Stanford Law School, along with its partner organizations that funded the development and provided industry insight, are releasing the IPLC in phased modules, and today’s release, the Patent Litigation Module, includes more than 23,000 cases filed in U.S. district courts since 2000—raw data for every district court patent case and all results (outcomes and opinions).

Intellectual property (IP) is a key driver of the American economy, and IP litigation is big business. By one estimate, the nation’s copyright and patent industries alone contributed almost 20 percent of private industry’s share of the U.S. gross domestic product and were responsible for close to 40 percent of all private industry growth.* The average patent case costs $5 million in legal fees on each side to litigate. A patent lawsuit can prevent a company from bringing a new product to market, or otherwise stall the kind of innovation that the IP system was meant to spur.

“Patent litigation is a big risk for most companies because there is great uncertainty about the outcome,” said Mark Lemley, who spearheaded the development of the IPLC and who is the William H. Neukom Professor of Law and the director of the Law, Science & Technology Program. “The IPLC offers searchable, accessible data on all U.S. patent cases since 2000, so it allows lawyers to research factors in litigation and help them arrive at more rational business decisions—before they litigate. Similarly, it allows judges to define what patent terms mean based on past cases and interpretations and to rely on data to inform settlement negotiations. We built this tool in part so that lawyers and judges could get more certainty.”

“But,” Lemley continued, “we also built this tool so that scholars and policymakers could help Congress reform the patent system in rational ways, based on what’s really happening rather than our perception of what’s happening. For example, today there are patent reforms under consideration in Congress focused on the problem of litigation abuse which floods the courts with unnecessary litigation and holds up the true innovators. One of the most talked about examples of this abuse is the phenomenon of ‘patent trolls.’ But no one can agree on how many trolls there are out there... The IPLC offers us the data we need to do empirical analysis and develop the best possible reforms.”

Already, Lemley has used the data from the IPLC to run a number of empirical studies. He has recently co-authored a working paper with Christopher Cotropia, associate professor of law at University of Richmond School of Law, which debunks the notion that a high number of patent cases brought by plaintiffs involve copying or theft, findings that will be published in early 2009 in the North Carolina Law Review.

“In fact, the percent of these cases involving copying is quite small—only 2 to 3 percent,” Lemley said. “These findings have implications for public policy. I believe that the laws and policies we create should address truly widespread, substantial problems ascertained from hard data, rather than those we collectively imagine are happening based on a few anecdotes.”

The IPLC was developed by the Law, Science & Technology Program within Stanford Law School with the generous support of a diverse group of industry and philanthropic partners who represent a wide range of industries as well as a good cross section of potential users, and who collectively form a neutral group of financial supporters since their own business interests stand apart from or, in some cases, compete with other members of the group; those partners include: Cisco Systems Inc.; Cornerstone Research; Fenwick & West LLP; Genentech, Inc.; Intel Corporation; the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Oracle; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; Qualcomm Inc.; SAP; and Winston & Strawn LLP. “We have concrete data at our fingertips for the first time,” said Gordon Davidson, chairman of Fenwick & West, who is also an advisor to the Law, Science & Technology Program, and a Stanford Law School alumnus. “Now, in addition to offering our clients the best legal talent, we can use the IPLC to help our clients make more deeply informed business decisions about the merits of litigation—based on the history of similar IP lawsuits, on court rulings by jurisdiction, the average cost of settlement, and other intelligence.”

As part of the development process, an early version of the IPLC was made available to roughly 200 IP scholars across the country in August 2008, as well as to philanthropic supporters, so that both groups could help test the system and maximize its usefulness. On an ongoing basis, IPLC affiliated scholars at Stanford Law School will be issuing successive reports on various topics, including trends in patent litigation, settlements, and case outcomes. The IPLC data will also be available to scholars everywhere, so that they can produce their own, independent studies. Most importantly, all three branches of government—judicial, executive, and legislative—may use the IPLC to track, manage, analyze, and debate IP litigation in real time.

“Stanford Law School is a leading center for empirical legal analysis, interdisciplinary research, and innovation in legal practice,” said Dean Larry Kramer. “We first developed the Stanford Class Action Clearinghouse, a pioneering system which, by making class actions more transparent to everyone, helped to reshape and streamline securities law and policy. Now, the Stanford IP Litigation Clearinghouse offers the next generation of tools to help scholars, law- and policymakers better understand our IP system and reform IP law and policy.”

“We are developing a core element of the U.S. intellectual property infrastructure,” said Joshua Walker, who directed the IPLC’s creation. “The IPLC is agnostic on policy, indifferent to popular myth (from any source), and intensely focused on illuminating empirical reality—the truth—however complex, counterintuitive, or discomfiting about IP litigation,” he added. “The bedrock of the system is based on tens of thousands of hours of vigorous legal review and discussion with leading experts, like Mark Lemley. And out of necessity (and the weight of nearly 80,000 highly complex, IP related lawsuits), we have had to develop some radically new approaches to IP analytics. Our academic mission is to empower individuals—attorneys, judges, and many others—to make the best decisions possible, as efficiently as possible. We are just getting started.”

"As the cosponsor of the Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, we know how important it is for the legal community to have access to reliable empirical data," said Dr. Matt Lynde, Vice President at Cornerstone Research. "We believe the IPLC will provide such a resource for intellectual property litigation as well. We are very excited about the research opportunities now available, as well as how the results of such research may aid the legal community not only in resolving disputes, but also in reducing the costs of resolution and providing insights for business and policy decision makers in the future."


*Source: From an abridgment of the introduction to Stanford Law Professor Paul Goldstein’s book, Intellectual Property: The Tough New Realities That Could Make or Break Your Business, published in Stanford Lawyer magazine .

About Mark Lemley

Widely recognized as a preeminent scholar of intellectual property law, Mark A. Lemley (BA ’88) is an accomplished litigator—having tried cases before the US Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and federal circuit courts—as well as a prolific writer with over 90 published articles and six books. He has testified numerous times before Congress, the California legislature, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Antitrust Modernization Commission on patent, trade secret, antitrust, and constitutional law matters, and he also serves as of counsel at Keker & Van Nest in the areas of antitrust, intellectual property and computer law. His contributions to legal scholarship focus on how the economics and technology of the Internet affect patent law, copyright law, and trademark law; and at Stanford he currently acts as the Director of the Program in Law, Science & Technology, and the Director of the LLM Program in Law, Science & Technology.

Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 2004, he was a professor of law at the UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and at the University of Texas School of Law. He also served as counsel at Fish & Richardson and Brown & Bain as well as clerked for Judge Dorothy W. Nelson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

About Joshua Walker

A pioneer in the emerging field of legal informatics, Joshua Walker is a founder of CodeX (Stanford Center for Computers and Law), a multidisciplinary laboratory run by Stanford Law School and Stanford University's School of Engineering, and executive director of the IP Litigation Clearinghouse. He currently leads advanced, applied research in law and computer science—efforts to make legal information more accessible to both attorneys and the general public.

Walker has been building legal data collections and databases for over a decade. As an undergraduate at Harvard, he collected primary data on criminal and ethnic nationalist groups in Northern Ireland and wartime Bosnia. Later, he was part of a U.S. team sent to Rwanda, prosecuting orchestrators of the 1996 genocide. Through his work coordinating the Office of the Prosecutor's first functional database, Walker helped convict the former Prime Minister of Rwanda—a judicial first—and build cases against other key perpetrators. As a student at the University of Chicago Law School, Walker became a top antitrust scholar and cultivated interdisciplinary research projects with Argonne National Laboratory. Before coming to Stanford, Walker was an intellectual property litigator at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, representing Facebook, Intel, eBay, and other leading technology companies. Several successful representations at Orrick helped lead to new intellectual property and Internet jurisdiction law.

About George Grigoryev

George Grigoryev is the director of project engineering for the Stanford IP Litigation Clearinghouse. Grigoryev received his MS in Management Science in 2007 from the Stanford University School of Engineering. His interests include intellectual property litigation and licensing, computer science, applied mathematics, information retrieval and data mining, and technology transfer. Grigoryev cofounded ShowMyTV, Inc., a video delivery solution for local TV stations utilizing modern information retrieval technology. Prior to Stanford, George was a senior product manager at Sun Microsystems, responsible for the product requirements for the overall J2EE 1.4 platform. Prior to Sun, Grigoryev was a marketing director at Coral Energy, where he worked on release of the CoralConnectTM website, a B2B Internet-based order entry and execution system. George has an MS degree in Physics from Yale University, where he conducted research in mathematical physics and string theory.

About the Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology

The Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology (LST) combines the resources of Stanford Law School—including renowned faculty experts, alumni practicing on the cutting edge of technology law, technologically savvy and enthusiastic students, and a location in the heart of Silicon Valley—to address the many questions arising from the increasingly prominent role that science and technology play in both national and global arenas. The program acts to help legal professionals, businesspeople, government officials, and the public at large to identify those questions and find innovative answers to them. The program seeks to: give every Stanford Law student the opportunity to address these issues through innovative coursework, in preparation for practice at the highest level of law's intersections with science and technology; raise professional understanding and public awareness of technical and ethical challenges; promote informed public policies on science and technology in national and global arenas; and contribute to the international exchange of ideas in the field of Law, Science, and Technology.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School ( is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, and write books and articles for academic audiences, as well as the popular press. Along with offering traditional law school classes, the school has embraced new subjects and new ways of teaching.



Judith Romero
Associate Director of Media Relations
Stanford Law School

For commentary:

Mark Lemley, William H. Neukom Professor of Law and director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology
Office: 650 723.4605

Joshua Walker
Executive Director, IPLC
Office: 650 723.9305

IPLC partner organization press contacts:

Cisco Systems: Kristin Carvell, Corporate Communications,, 408.424.0206

Cornerstone Research: Terri Viera,

Fenwick & West LLP: James J. Stapleton, CMO, Fenwick & West,, 650.335.7641

Genentech: Gary Loeb, Vice President, Intellectual Property,

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation: Barbara Pruitt,, 4801 Rockhill Road Kansas City MO 64110-2046, Office: 816.932.1288, Fax: 816.751.6880

Intel Corporation: Conan Gregar,

Oracle Corporate Communications: Deborah Hellinger, Senior Director,, Phone: +1 650 506 5158, Fax: +1 650 506 7598

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP: Andrea Snedeker,; David Schaefer,

Qualcomm Incorporated: Phil Fries, (408) 533-9353

SAP: Lisa Buccino,

Winston & Strawn LLP: Lisa W. Sachdev, Public Relations Manager, 35 West Wicker Drive Chicago, IL 60601-9703, T: +1 (312) 558-5844, F: +1 (312) 558-5700 C: +1 (312) 342-3094,,