Stanford Law School has unveiled its IP Litigation Clearinghouse, which includes data on 78,000 copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret lawsuits. That includes 23,000 patent suits, and the patent data has just been made public. I can already tell this will be a great tool that I'll use a great deal, and I look forward to seeing what others come up with.
My colleague Zusha Elinson at the Recorder attended Stanford's event unveiling the IPLC. His article about the IPLC, published yesterday, is worth reading. Initial statistics show that there was indeed a real spike in the number of defendants sued in 2007; that spike may not be repeated in 2008. See graph below. This data generally confirms the estimate calculated by Rick Frenkel earlier this year. It also confirms the anecdotal evidence I reported in the IPLB 2008 Patent Litigation survey. Lemley attributes this spike to a rush by holding companies to file suit before any patent reform legislation took effect.
Stanford Law Professor Mark Lemley (pictured), who was a driving force behind the IPLC, also said he's teaming up with Intellectual Ventures founder Nathan Myhrvold in order to classify exactly who is filing all the patent infringement lawsuits. I'll be watching that project, which sounds like it could be like a Troll Tracker blog on steroids. Lemley and Myhrvold, it should be noted, have very different views about the patent-holding companies some deride as "patent trolls." Stanford's IPLC announcement has much more information about the project.