On December 8 Stanford University’s Law School launched the Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse (IPLC) website. Mark A. Lemley, William H. Neukom Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, describes the IPLC as a first-of-its-kind database that will offer comprehensive information about intellectual property disputes in the United States. Cornerstone Research is among the founding sponsors of this new online resource.
The IPLC combines real-time data summaries, industry indices, and trend analyses with a full-text search engine, providing detailed and timely information unavailable elsewhere in the public domain. The IPLC is being released in phased modules. The first, the Patent Litigation Module, includes data on all patent cases (more than 23,000) filed in U.S. district courts since 2000. These data cover all significant case events and documents such as terminations, pleadings, opinions, and jury awards.
Cornerstone Research also provides economic analysis for the site. As an initial research effort, we have examined data on damages and settlement trends, where available, in five of the busiest patent jurisdictions (Northern District of California, District of Delaware, Northern District of Illinois, District of New Jersey, and Eastern District of Texas). The IPLC data show that the largest judgment awards exceed the largest disclosed settlements, but that, on average, settlement amounts are greater than judgment amounts (as are the median settlement amounts). Looking across all industries, the median disclosed settlement exceeds the median judgment by more than $4 million. However, as the figure below shows, this relationship is not uniform across industrial categories.
The Stanford IPLC provides improved access to intellectual property litigation data because of daily electronic docket updating from all federal jurisdictions and because of informed, timely, high-quality control of case coding to ensure accurate data. Coding and documentary support are available due to cost-effective click-through access to important (and electronically available) pleadings and other case documents.
“Given Cornerstone Research’s experience sponsoring the Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, we know how important it is for the legal community to have access to reliable empirical data,” according to Dr. Matthew Lynde, a vice president at Cornerstone Research, “We believe the IPLC will provide a similar resource for intellectual property litigation. We are very excited about the research opportunities now available, as well as how such research may aid the legal community in resolving disputes, lowering the costs of resolution, and providing insights for business and policymakers.”
“Patent litigation is a big risk for most companies because there is great uncertainty about outcomes,” said Professor Lemley. “We built the IPLC in part so that lawyers and judges could achieve more certainty. It allows lawyers to research factors in litigation and help them make 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.”