« Graham & Dunn to Host INTA Roundtable on Survey Evidence in Trademark Cases | Main | Ninth Circuit Finds Federal Law, Not Tribal Law, Governs Infringement Dispute »

Stanford IP Litigation Clearinghouse Database Appears to be Incomplete

As recently discussed, I’m a fan of the Stanford IP Litigation Clearinghouse. However, in working on my annual Western District Statistics post, I noticed a large discrepancy between the numbers that PACER indicates and the numbers the Clearinghouse counts. For example, the Clearinghouse states that 28 trademark cases were filed in the Western District last year. PACER puts the number at 51. The 2008 cases the Clearinghouse did not count were spread fairly evenly throughout the year, so it does not appear to be a matter of its database simply not being up-to-date. Most of the missing cases were both opened and closed in 2008, though not all fit that pattern. I can’t figure out why 23 cases show up in PACER but not the Clearinghouse, since I imagine PACER is the source of the Clearinghouse’s data. Perhaps someone from the Clearinghouse can shed some light. This is no knock against the Clearinghouse, which I view as an ambitious project that already provides a lot of value. (Among other things, it provides a docket sheet for all cases included in its database free of charge.) However, its database does not appear to be complete. Users should be aware of this apparent shortcoming. Hopefully, it will be corrected in the near future.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: Legal News
    Here is some IP-related news for your weekend enjoyment:Seattle Trademark Lawyer Mike Graham warns that the excellent Stanford IP Clearinghouse may not be counting all cases in its data based on Graham's comparison of 2008 trademark filings in the Western District of Washington using PACER and the Stanford IP Clearinghouse -- ...

Reader Comments (6)

PACER has a lot of misclassifications, and I believe the clearinghouse is screening out those. However, this discrepancy is higher than would be explained by that. Eric.
January 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric Goldman
Thanks, Eric.

I don't think the discrepancy is due to PACER misclassification. I believe PACER classifies cases based on the box the plaintiff's lawyer checks on the case information sheet upon filing the complaint. In my experience, if the plaintiff's lawyer characterizes the case as being primarily a trademark case, that's a pretty accurate description. In my review, the Clearinghouse left out a number of cases I know to be trademark cases, in part because I was involved in one of them -- a trademark infringement suit that couldn't fairly be categorized as anything but a "trademark" suit. Again, this isn't meant to criticize the good work that continues to go into the Clearinghouse; it's just a note based on my experience with its database. I simply fear it's not yet complete.
January 26, 2009 | Registered CommenterMichael Atkins
Great post on the Clearinghouse. I too am a fan of the Clearinghouse, but I haven't been able to use it in any meaningful way because of the restrictions on its use, some of which apparently have been set by the federal judiciary itself. The Terms of Use state:

“The IPLC has been granted special access to data under federal court order. The order, and the federal laws governing such order, have very specific limitations.”


“Your access and account are strictly limited to non-commercial use. You may not use this site for any commercial purpose or for private sector remuneration—directly or indirectly. Some examples of EXCLUDED uses include, but are not limited to: (i) attorney use of IPLC Services to defend, manage, or prosecute a litigation (EXCEPT all pro bono or directly analogous use is allowed and strongly encouraged); (ii) use by a litigation consultant, of any kind, in relation to an actual or potential litigation; (iii) any use by, on behalf, or for the benefit of a for-profit legal entity, whether such entity is extant or to be created; (iv) use of IPLC Services by anyone to analyze the purchase, sale, licensing, or valuation of any intellectual property; or (v) use of the IPLC to create an IP or litigation related database of any kind (see also all prohibitions below). The above usages, and any other commercial or private remunerative usages, are expressly prohibited.”


"To protect its mandate to the public, and to encourage judicial grants of discrete data access for academic and public spirited projects, Stanford University may be forced to pursue violators of its data access policies."
January 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
Greetings all.

1. Thanks to everyone for their kind words.
2. Indeed, our initial corpus of trademark (i.e., Lanham Act) cases is manifestly incomplete. We started with those federal cases characterized as "trademark" by PACER, and realize that this is only the first step. For the federal case remainder, we rely on YOU. Please send me case numbers and we will add them to the system, eventually incorporating the latent TM (involving Lanham Act claim) cases en masse. I am best reached at jwalker@law.stanford.edu. Your participation is strongly encouraged.
3. The project is in the process of raising additional funds to purchase all key documents in such cases.
4. And on this topic: We are launching an advanced, completely unrestricted site at a moderate fee. Indeed, we do so both to fund-raise (particularly for expansion of the trademark/other IP data corpus) as well as to ensure strict and absolute compliance with a federal court order controlling usage of certain IPLC data.

Again, feel free to contact me directly (or use the "Errata" function on the site) with critiques, suggestions, cases, etc.


Joshua Walker
Director, IP Litigation Clearinghouse
Stanford Law School
February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ.H. Walker
Also, the Clearinghouse has 51 manifest trademark cases for the Western District of Washington for last year, so the first post is actually incorrect. Sometimes there are anomalies or delays in reporting from PACER.
March 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ.H. Walker
I'm glad the database is lining up with what PACER shows. However, I'd be surprised if the original post incorrectly tabulated the Clearinghouse number or PACER's number.

Perhaps one way to increase user confidence in Clearinghouse data would be to add a note stating the currency of its database. That way users would know that some delay may exist in obtaining data from PACER but that the Clearinghouse is current as of the stated date.
March 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterMichael Atkins

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.