According to the Boston Globe, the Boston Patent Law Association ("BPLA"), headed by Boston attorney Lee Carl Bromberg, is trying to make the District of Massachusetts the next hot patent court. The BPLA is working to create patent rules for D. Mass. and case deadlines similar to those found in "rocket dockets" like E.D. Texas, W.D. Wis. and E.D. Va. Bromberg also touts the intelligent judiciary in Boston as a reason D. Mass. should be the next patent court.
I am all for districts adopting patent rules. Regardless of their specific content, the certainty of patent-specific rules for claim construction and the exchange of infringement and invalidity contentions benefits all parties. Local rules also save the expense of the numerous discovery motions parties often use to resolve these issues in the absence of local rules. But I think what matters most, is getting a judge that is interested in or at least willing to tackle a patent case. Judge Ward’s interest in patent cases (and now the interests of his E.D. Texas colleagues) is really what made the E.D. Texas a patent hot-bed, his local rules were just an off-shoot of that. Similarly, the chief reason that the Northern District is a top five patent district is that there are a critical mass of judges that have taken an interest in patent cases. And although the Northern District lacks patent local rules, the judges that seem to preside over the most patent cases tend to have set or preferred procedures for patent cases that take the place of broader patent-specific rules. For example, Judge St. Eve has a standing order setting a claim construction schedule.