Last month I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussing the Northern District of Illinois’ new Local Patent Rules* hosted by Applied Discovery. In addition to me, the panelists were:

The panel briefly touched on the mechanics of the Rules, and then dove into the implications of the Rules for Northern District patent litigation generally, as well as specific issues litigants will likely face with the Rules. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Rules will increase patent litigation filings in the Northern District despite the fact that the 2+ year trial timeline does not create a rocket docket.

  • The Rules are widely accepted as positive by both sides of the bar.

  • The Initial Disclosure document production requirements will have the most significant impact. Plaintiffs will need to prepare their cases early, and defendants cannot delay prior art searches.

  • The combination of early document production and early initial contentions means that parties will not be able to use the first six months of a patent case to try settling it without much investment in the case.

  • Ouweleen pointed out that other courts have used the contention disclosures to exclude new information after content deadlines without a showing of good cause. That places a premium on early prior out searches and fleshing out each party’s technical case early.

  • Callahan believed that the Rules will focus cases on the substantive issues, instead of negotiating over protective orders and interrogatory responses. That is a benefit to judges (reduced motion practice), litigants (reduced cost), and litigators (more time to focus on the art of lawyering and the substantive case).

It will be very interesting to test the accuracy of these predictions once we have a year or two of data using the Rules.

*  Click here for much more on the Blog’s archives about the Local Patent Rules.