By Donald Zuhn --
Last week, the Law, Science & Technology Program at Stanford Law School announced the launch of the Stanford IP Litigation Clearinghouse (IPLC) Patent Litigation Module, a database of more than 23,000 cases filed in U.S. district courts since 2000. According to the school's release, the publicly available, online database "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 Patent Litigation Module is the first part of the project to be released, with other modules to follow.
The IPLC project was the result of efforts by Stanford faculty members George Grigoryev, Joshua Walker, Larry Kramer, and Mark Lemley. Professor Lemley (at left), the William H. Neukom Professor of Law and director of the Law, Science & Technology Program, noted that:
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, 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.
The school's announcement indicated that the development of the IPLC was being funded by "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." Among these supporters are: 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.