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January 20, 2009

The Bible

Every once in a blue moon something incredibly good happens. Now on tap, in draft, not quite bottled, is the "Patent Case Management Judicial Guide," a rather incredible compendium covering all aspects of patent litigation, not just judicial case management.

The 542-page work has numerous contributors. The point man of the effort was Professor Peter S. Menell at U.C. Berkeley School of Law.

This is an indispensible document for judges and patent litigants. "Required reading" would be an understatement. And it's only 366 pages to the glossary.

The abstract:

As the number, size, and complexity of patent cases have grown throughout the United States over the past several decades - paralleling expansion in the role of high technology enterprises in the U.S. economy - the need for a comprehensive, user-friendly, and practical judicial guide for managing patent cases has become increasingly apparent. Although similar in many respects to other forms of complex civil litigation, patent cases pose distinctive case management challenges. Patent cases feature complex and dynamic technological facts to a degree rarely encountered in most other areas of litigation. Furthermore, they employ unique procedures (such as claim construction hearings) that affect and interact with other aspects of the case (such as summary judgment motions and expert reports) in ways that create unusual scheduling and substantive complexity. In addition, patent cases often entail distinctive and difficult discovery issues, extensive use of experts, and particularly complex dispositive and pre-trial motion practice.

Because of the decentralized, general jurisdiction structure of federal courts in the United States, much of the experience relating to managing patent cases is silo-ed in particular judicial chambers. As one jurist aptly noted, best practices for patent case management have been transmitted largely through word of mouth. Given the crowded, diverse dockets of federal courts, the accessibility and reliability of such knowledge is far from ideal. Judges in some districts have partially codified recommended practices in the form of Patent Local Rules, standing orders, and patent jury instructions, but these documents do not address the full range of distinctive challenges posed by patent litigation. Furthermore, such judicial wisdom continues to evolve.

Recognizing these patterns, the authors undertook in 2006 to survey the range of approaches and perspectives on patent case management, foster discussion and analysis of patent case management techniques, and develop an authoritative guide for judges, law clerks, practitioners, and patent and civil procedure professors and scholars. Given the dynamism of the patent system and patent litigation, the authors plan to revise the Guide on a biennial basis.

Posted by Patent Hawk at January 20, 2009 3:35 PM | Litigation