Understanding the Realities of Modern Patent Litigation

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  • August 3, 2015

Sixteen years ago, John Allison and Mark Lemley published the first detailed empirical look at patent litigation. In this Article, with the help of Professor Schwartz, they update and expand the earlier study with a new hand-coded data set. They evaluate all substantive decisions rendered by any court in every patent case filed in 2008 and 2009—decisions made between 2009 and 2013. They consider not just patent validity but also infringement and unenforceability. Moreover, they relate the outcomes of those cases to a host of variables, including variables related to the parties, the patents, and the courts in which those cases were litigated. The result is a comprehensive picture of the outcomes of modern patent litigation, one that confirms conventional wisdom in some respects but upends it in others. In particular, they find a surprising amount of continuity in the basic outcomes of patent lawsuits over the past twenty years, despite rather dramatic changes in who brought patent suits during that time.