Judith Romero, 650-723-2232, email@example.com, Stanford Law Schools
Barbara Pruitt, 816-932-1288; firstname.lastname@example.org, Kauffman Foundation
Kauffman Foundation Funds Legal Innovation in IP Infrastructure
(STANFORD, Calif.) Dec. 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. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is one of the organizations that funded the development of and provided insight for this publicly available online research tool. The IPLC will enable scholars, policymakers, lawyers, judges and journalists to review real-time data about intellectual property (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.
"This database is a revolutionary resource for opening the books on patent litigation, whose links to entrepreneurship are vital for policymakers to understand," said Robert Litan, vice president of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, which focuses on initiatives that advance entrepreneurship and innovation. "Having accurate and immediate IP data will both protect and encourage entrepreneurs who want to take their innovations to market."
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. Today's release, the Patent Litigation Module, is the first phase of the IPLC and 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).
Business and Policy Implications
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 intended to spur.
"Patent litigation is a big risk for most companies because there is great uncertainty about the outcome," said Mark Lemley, William H. Neukom Professor of Law and the director of the Law, Science & Technology Program, who spearheaded the development of the IPLC. "We built this tool in part so that lawyers and judges could get more certainty. 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. The IPLC offers us the data we need to do empirical analysis and develop the best possible reforms."
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."
Developing the Database
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. IPLC affiliated scholars at Stanford Law School will be issuing ongoing reports on various topics, including trends in patent litigation, settlements and case outcomes. The IPLC data also will be available to scholars everywhere, so that they can produce their own, independent studies. Most importantly, the judicial, executive and legislative branches of government 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."
In addition to the Kauffman Foundation, 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, including 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 also is 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."
About the Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology
*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 here: http://www.law.stanford.edu/publications/stanford_lawyer/issues/77/sl77_PointOfView.pdf
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 (www.law.stanford.edu) 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.