House Of Representatives Submits Pilot Program Bill For Specific Judges to Hear Patent Cases
Joel J. Felber - 3/19/2009
The House of Representatives passed a bill, H.R. 628, for a pilot program in certain U.S. district courts to encourage expertise in cases involving patents among district judges. In general, the bill allows district judges who request to hear cases having an issue of patent law to be “designated by the Chief Judge of the court.” Any judge not designated by the Chief Judge may decline to accept a case that has one or more issues relating to patents. Initially a pilot program, six U.S. district courts in at least three different judicial circuits, as determined by the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States courts, will be implemented. The Director will choose from fifteen district courts in which the largest number of patent cases were filed in the most recent calendar year, or from those district courts that have adopted local rules for patent cases. The bill also specifies congressional reports to be submitted by the Director that analyze whether the program is succeeding in developing expertise in patent cases, that identify the extent to which the program has improved efficiency of the courts, and that analyze the rate of reversal by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vis a vis a comparison between judges who request to hear cases having one or more issues of patent law, and those judges that decline to hear such cases.