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Patent Litigation and the Internet

By John R. Allison, Emerson H. Tiller, Samatha Zyontz, Tristan Bligh

Patent infringement litigation has not only increased dramatically in frequency over the past few decades, but also has also seen striking growth in both stakes and cost. Although a relatively rich literature has added much to our understanding of the nature, causes, and consequences of patent litigation during the past two decades, many interesting questions remain inadequately addressed. The nuances of and trends in patent litigation in different technology fields and industries, for example, are still understudied. Litigation of patents on new technologies has likewise received a dearth of attention. Here we seek to help begin filling these gaps by empirically analyzing the phenomenon in a very particular context: the litigation of Internet patents. In particular, we study litigation of patents on Internet business processes issued during the first few years in which such patents were granted, and determine whether it differs in meaningful ways from litigation of patents in other fields.

In Part II we describe our data. In Part III we first make univariate statistical comparisons of litigation rates between Internet patents and NIPs, between the two subgroups of Internet patents and NIPs, and between the Internet patent subgroups themselves. We then use multivariate logistic regression to determine whether being an Internet patent or being within one of the Internet patent subgroups still contributes to the likelihood of being litigated after we controlled for other patent characteristics found to be positively or negatively associated with litigation by previous studies. Part IV expands our study by analyzing more closely a number of other case-specific litigation variables for both Internet patents and NIPs. We conclude and revisit potential future research questions in Part V.

Posted in Articles.

February 14, 2012 Cite: 2012 Stan. Tech. L. Rev. 3