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Counting patent cases is not the same as trying them, but it does require judgment. Here is how IP Worldwide editors conducted this survey and the choices made: A Lexis Nexis service called Courtlink eAccess, formerly CaseStream, provided editors with a list of all patent cases filed in 2001 — more than 2,500 altogether. To weed out the easy-come, easy-go cases, we eliminated those that had closed as of Feb. 7, 2002, the date Lexis Nexis removed the cases from its database. That brought our universe down to nearly 1,700 cases. (Cases before the International Trade Commission were not included.) The list contained the firms that filed suit and appeared as defense counsel as of Feb. 7. For a variety of reasons, the listing of firms was incomplete. So every firm that was listed at least five times as either a plaintiff or defense counsel was asked to update its totals. For the firms’ submissions, they had to include a case name, court, and docket number and confirmation that the case was still active on Feb. 7. All firms were counted equally. If they appeared in a case, they received full credit. Finally, not all cases filed by plaintiffs’ firms were counted equally. If a firm represented a single plaintiff filing multiple suits against the same or different parties, they were asked to reveal whether the cases involved different patents or substantially different issues. If it didn’t respond to that request or indicated that cases involved substantially the same issues, the cases were only counted once. (Those instances in which both a patent suit and a declaratory judgment were ongoing over the same patent were also only counted once.) In making this cut, the editors were trying to elevate substance over form by rewarding cases that require extra effort, not merely duplicative filing.

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