Is there a connection between state-law tort reform and the explosive growth of US intellectual property (IP) litigation? The tort reform literature has established that the number of tort claims in states with tort reform has decreased. Using data gathered from multiple sources, including Lex Machina, DocketX, and the Database of State Tort Law Reforms (DSTLR 5th), we find evidence that state tort reform is associated with statistically significant and substantial increases in copyright and patent filings in US district courts in the states where reform has occurred. In contrast, our study does not indicate a similarly significant increase in trademark and trade secret filings. We posit multiple potential explanations for the increase in patent and copyright filings after tort reform and the lack of such increase for trademark and trade secrets filings. These include (1) migration of in-state plaintiff’s attorneys from pursuit of state tort suits to lucrative opportunities to act as plaintiff’s lawyers in patent and copyright, (2) IP attorneys’ exploitation of less congested in-state civil dockets, and (3) in-state district courts’ adoption of plaintiff-friendly rules and practices to attract IP cases to fill those dockets …
Ronen Avraham and John M Golden, “From PI to IP”: Litigation Response to Tort Reform, American Law and Economics Review, https://doi.org/10.1093/aler/ahy001. Published: 26 March 2018.