Who's Suing Us? Decoding Patent Plaintiffs since 2000 with the Stanford NPE Litigation Dataset

38 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018

See all articles by Shawn P. Miller

Shawn P. Miller

Stanford Law School

Ashwin Aravind

Stanford University, School of Law, Students

Bethany Bengfort

Independent

Clarisse De La Cerda

Independent

Matteo Dragoni

Independent

Kevin Gibson

Independent

Amit Itai

Stanford University, School of Law, Students

Charles Johnson

Independent

Deepa Kannappan

Independent

Emily Kehoe

Independent

Hyosang Kim

Independent

Katherine Mladinich

Stanford University, School of Law, Students

Roberto Pinho

Independent

John Polansky

Stanford University, School of Law, Students

Brian Weissenberg

Independent

Date Written: July 18, 2018

Abstract

Despite widespread interest in the impact of patent assertion entities (“PAEs”) on the U.S. patent system, there has been no publicly available dataset that categorizes more than a fraction of lawsuits as involving practicing entities, non-practicing entities (“NPEs”), or PAEs. To address this knowledge gap, Stanford Law School student researchers, led by Mark Lemley and Shawn Miller, have created the Stanford NPE Litigation Dataset (“the Dataset”). The Dataset is the first comprehensive patent litigation dataset to categorize patent asserters and will do so for every U.S. patent lawsuit filed since 2000. With over 80% of total cases categorized as including practicing entities or one of eleven types of NPE patent asserters, the Dataset is nearing completion of the 63,000 lawsuits filed between 2000 and 2017. Thereafter, we will continue to update the Dataset with more recently filed lawsuits. The Dataset provides an invaluable tool to help policy makers craft effective rules, and help judges, litigators, and scholars better understand the nature of the entities filing patent suits. This is especially true because the Dataset captures how patent litigation patterns evolve over an era of heightened activity and policy reform. The Dataset will reveal trends before and after passage of the America Invents Act, key Supreme Court patent cases including eBay and Alice, and various executive orders focused on increasing transparency and reducing costs in patent suits. The first half of this paper explains the motivation for creating the Dataset and details the methodology used to create it. At present, we have completed and made public a random sample of 20% of the lawsuits filed from 2000 through 2015 (10,812 lawsuits). We utilize this sample in the second half of the paper to reveal, for the first time ever, trends in the share of patent disputes attributed to different types of patent asserters over a span of sixteen years. These trends show that while practicing entities dominated patent litigation in the first half of the 2000s, NPEs and PAEs now assert patents in most lawsuits. Further, the trends show that the rise of NPEs and PAEs began before—and thus is not attributable to—the 2011 change in joinder rules. We hope this data will be used to further policy discussions and therefore conclude this paper with examples of how the Dataset can be used in future research on the impact of different types of patent asserters on the patent system.

Suggested Citation

Miller, Shawn Patrick and Aravind, Ashwin and Bengfort, Bethany and De La Cerda, Clarisse and Dragoni, Matteo and Gibson, Kevin and Itai, Amit and Johnson, Charles and Kannappan, Deepa and Kehoe, Emily and Kim, Hyosang and Mladinich, Katherine and Pinho, Roberto and Polansky, John and Weissenberg, Brian, Who's Suing Us? Decoding Patent Plaintiffs since 2000 with the Stanford NPE Litigation Dataset (July 18, 2018). Stanford Technology Law Review, Vol. 21, No. 234, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3216095 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3216095

Shawn Patrick Miller (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Ashwin Aravind

Stanford University, School of Law, Students ( email )

Stanford, CA
United States

Bethany Bengfort

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Clarisse De La Cerda

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Matteo Dragoni

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Kevin Gibson

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Amit Itai

Stanford University, School of Law, Students ( email )

Stanford, CA
United States

Charles Johnson

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Deepa Kannappan

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Emily Kehoe

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Hyosang Kim

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Katherine Mladinich

Stanford University, School of Law, Students ( email )

Stanford, CA
United States

Roberto Pinho

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

John Polansky

Stanford University, School of Law, Students ( email )

Stanford, CA
United States

Brian Weissenberg

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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