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The Inventor's Tale

Publication Date: 
January 01, 2009
IP Law & Business
Joe Mullin

Professor Mark A. Lemley is quoted in an IP Law & Business story about research presented in the recently unveiled IP Litigation Clearinghouse:

New research done using Stanford Law School's new IP Litigation Clearing House--a searchable database of 78,000 intellectual property cases filed since 2000--demonstrates that formal allegations and findings of copying are actually quite rare in patent disputes. "No one seemed to know whether patent infringement defendants are in fact unscrupulous copyists or independent developers," says Stanford Law School professor Mark Lemley. Coauthored by Christopher Cotropia of University of Richmond Law School, the new research, which is published online by Stanford, attempts to answer that question, and does: It's overwhelmingly independent developers that are getting hit with patent lawsuits.

The researchers looked at about 200 recent patent infringement complaints, including cases where plaintiffs had prior business dealings with a defendant, or had trade secrets allegations along with their patent claims. They found only 11 percent contained even an allegation that the defendant had copied, either from the patent or from the plaintiff's commercial product. They also analyzed a much larger sample of published decisions in patent cases, and found that less than 7 percent contained an allegation of copying. Copying was established in less than 2 percent of the decisions.