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Articles

The Patent Pilot Program: Reassignment Rates and the Effect of Local Patent Rules

January 22, 2014

Articles

The Patent Pilot Program: Reassignment Rates and the Effect of Local Patent Rules

January 22, 2014

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The Patent Pilot Program (the “Program”) has been in operation for almost two years in fourteen U.S. district courts (the “patent districts”). To date, nearly a third of all patent cases assigned to non-patent judges in patent districts were reassigned to participating judges. The reassignment rates vary significantly by district and have been lowest in the Northern District of California, the Southern District of New York, the District of New Jersey, and the Central District of California—four busy districts where judges regularly deal with complex litigation. Whether the Program has met its stated goal of enhancing expertise in patent cases will become clearer as more data—including reversal rates on appeal—are collected.

Local patent rules are in place in twelve of the fourteen patent districts. An analysis of quarterly caseload data over the last decade shows that there is no statistically significant correlation between the adoption of local patent rules and an increase in a district’s caseload. This is perhaps not surprising given that local patent rules vary across the adopting districts.

Fish’s Ron Vogel wrote this article for the NYIPLA October/November 2013 Bulletin. The article, which explores how the program has handled reassignments and impacted local patent rules since it started, is now available for download.

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