Patent lawsuits are disruptive, unpredictable, and costly. The inability to anticipate patent litigation makes it practically uninsurable, exposes companies to late-stage suits, and drives companies to rapidly accumulate patents in order to ward off litigation. This article confronts this systemic problem, by examining the factors that lead a particular patent to be litigated – only around 1% of patents ever is. It relates the eventual litigation of a patent to earlier events in the patent’s life, including changes in ownership of the patent (assignments, transfers, and changes in owner size), continued investment in the patent (reexamination, maintenance fees), securitization of the patent, and citations to the patent. To date these “acquired” characteristics, developed after a patent has issued in contrast to the intrinsic qualities a patent is “born” with, have been the subject of limited academic study.