December 6, 2011 - The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has initiated a patent litigation pilot program designed to keep patent cases from dragging on for years and incurring outrageous expenses. Fourteen federal district courts in ten states were chosen for the program, which aims to help judges develop expertise in patent litigation and help courts adopt local rules to speed cases along.
For example, the U.S. Federal District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania was chosen in part because it already had local rules in place. Those rules include placing time constraints on each party to respond to the other party, as well as a protective order that safeguards each party's confidential information and trade secrets during the discovery process.
Four federal judges in the Western Pennsylvania court will hear patent cases, which could make the district a magnet for patent lawsuit filings.
"The idea of the pilot program was to develop courts around the country where judges would develop expertise in patent litigation," said Chief District Judge Gary Lancaster, who heads the program in Western Pennsylvania and is one of the judges who will hear patent cases there.