New database to expand field of patent research

BY CCIA Staff
January 7, 2010

While PACER is a vital research tool for anyone interested in patent infringement cases, it isn’t exactly the most efficient website we’ve encountered. We’ve all had to sift through hundreds of cases at one point or another to find what we’re looking for.

Two Stanford researchers have produced a new system that may have the potential change the way we explore and analyze the patent system. As they announced on Tuesday, Mark Lemley and Joshua Walker have created an online research tool called Lex Machina, which contains 25,000 patent infringement cases as well as 100,000 IP and antitrust cases.

The last two sentences of their press release really caught our eye: “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 meant to spur.”

If Lemley and Walker plan to use Lex Machina to help foster a renewed sense of innovation, the sky just may be the limit. Innovators are currently spinning their tires in the mud, held back by an outdated patent system that permits a merry-go-round of frivolous legal action.

David Worthington over at Technologizer wrote today, he got a sneak peak at the new system, and the results are telling. In the post, Lemley tells Worthington that his research using the new online site has found that 30 percent of all IT suits are initiated by patent trolls.

Information is power. A database like Lex Machina can be an important tool in fighting the battle against patent trolls. Kudos to Lemley and Walker for the time, effort and the idea — and also for sharing such a great site.

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