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21st February 2019

Cipher now includes international litigation data

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Cipher now includes patent litigation data from China, Germany, France, Japan, UK, Netherlands as well as the US which has always been available. This important new dataset is provided to Cipher by our existing litigation data provider MaxVal, who for many years have licensed the Litigation Databank of US litigation, ITC and PTAB disputes.

While we are pleased to now have access to this data, many of the issues identified in Patent Litigation in Europe, the 2016 paper by Cremers, Harhoff still remain. These include:

  • There is no centralised database of European patent litigation. There is not even an agreed position on what information should be readily available. So, while the UK has a well-organised database of court decisions (BAILLI), it only includes final decisions with no on-line access to court records c.f. PACER in the US which provides access to nearly all court documents.
  • Worse than that, in many jurisdictions there are many different patent venues and courts.Patent Litigation in Europe provides a good introduction to the subject. Even this study, the most comprehensive of its sort, was forced to limit its research to 3 of the 12 regional courts in Germany. There is simply no aggregation of data centrally, which makes collection and analysis even harder.
  • German constitutional practice to anonymise parties in published court decisions. While there are ways to circumvent this inconvenient reality, such as mapping patent numbers to current owners or attending the court in person, this position needs to change.
  • The relative inaccessibility of Chinese litigation data. While we acknowledge the good work by Rouse in compiling the CIELA database, there is much more data out there – but filtering it from the decisions from 12,000 courts and 120,000 judges published in China will remain a challenge for some time yet.

“As patents become more important to more companies in more sectors, transparency and accessibility of international litigation data is becoming even more important. Europe is a key jurisdiction on the global IP stage and I hope that we will see an improvement in open data in this area in the coming years” said Nigel Swycher, CEO and founder of Aistemos, who is also a director of the Open Register of Patent Ownership.

We would also like to acknowledge the assistance and support of the following in reaching this important milestone: MaxVal, RPX, Sir Robin Jacob, Rouse and Dietmar Harhoff.

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