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Copyright, Trademark, Patent, Federal IP litigation, Internet filesharing, John Doe lawsuits, Regional variation


This Article undertakes a broad-based empirical review of intellectual property ("IP") litigation in U.S. federal district courts from 1994 to 2014. Unlike the prior literature, this study analyzes federal copyright, patent, and trademark litigation trends as a unified whole. It undertakes a systematic analysis of the records of more than 190,000 cases filed in federal courts and examines the subject matter, geographical, and temporal variation within federal IP litigation over the last two decades.

This Article analyzes changes in the distribution of IP litigation over time and their regional distribution. The key findings of this Article stem from an attempt to understand long-term patterns in the filing data as well as short­term deviations from various trends. This data-driven approach has yielded insights in relation to such diverse topics as Internet filesharing litigation, the true impact of patent trolls on the level of patent litigation, and the extent of forum shopping and forum selling patent litigation. just as importantly, this Article lays the foundation for planning and evaluating future empirical studies of IP litigation with a narrower focus. Many of the results and conclusions herein demonstrate the dangers of basing empirical conclusions on narrow slices of data from selected regions or selected time periods.

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Iowa Law Review