Northern District of Illinois

The Northern District of Illinois continued its historically busy intellectual property docket in 2010. The most interesting statistic is a huge jump in patent filings this year — 250 patent cases filed this year, nearly double 2009’s 137 filings. And that is after a slight dip in filings from 2008 to 2009. I will discuss the 2010 filings in more detail in a post later this month, but even correcting for false patent marking suits, not all of which are included in the 250 filings because plaintiffs did not uniformly identify false marking cases as patent cases on civil cover sheets filed with the complaints, there was a significant increase in patent filings. That fits with my prediction in late 2008 that the Northern District’s new Local Patent Rules would drive cases to Chicago.*
Trademark cases continued their slow growth, showing a slight increase over 2009. Finally, copyright cases increased, after falling off sharply in 2009. This chart shows the number of yearly patent, trademark and copyright cases filed in the Northern District during calendar years 2006 through 2009 (data gathered from the Stanford IP Clearinghouse and Pacer):
Northern District IP FilingsCase Type
* Click here for much more on the Local Patent Rules in the Blog’s archives.

Continue Reading Northern District of Illinois 2010 IP Case Filings:

This is the fifth installment of my twenty five tips for Northern District of Illinois litigation practice, with a focus on IP litigation (here are the earlier tips: 1-5; 6-10; 11-15; and 16-20). The tips are gleaned from my practice in the Northern District, my time as a law clerk for the Hon. Gordon J. Quist in the Western District of Michigan, and my reading of all of the Northern District of Illinois intellectual property opinions over the last four years. As you read them, let me know if you come up with others. I will be glad to include them as I go. Here are numbers twenty one through twenty five:
21. Calculate extensions in 7 day increments. The Federal Rules, and the Local Rules, now calculate deadlines in seven day increments. Based upon that, many Chicago judges expect parties to seek extensions in those same increments.
22. Respect Chambers. Chambers staff are pretty universally helpful, but be respectful of them and avoid annoying them. Before calling chambers, read the Local Rules and the judge’s website to make sure your question is not answered there. And call chambers with opposing counsel, unless you have advance permission from the Court or opposing counsel.
23. Learn how to seal or redact filings early. The Seventh Circuit frowns upon sealing court filings unless absolutely necessary. As a result, Northern District judges are particular about filing under seal, as is the Clerk’s office. Some protective orders give you a blanket right to file under seal, but others require specific permission. That permission would ideally be sought in advance of filing, but at least concurrent with the filing. Either way, it is critical to know before the evening of a major filing deadline, when the Clerk’s office may be closed, and you may not have much time to begin with. Additionally, the Seventh Circuit requires that briefs be filed in a redacted form instead of under seal. So, many Northern District judges have the same requirement. Either ask the judge’s chambers or counsel who has experience before the particular judge.
24. Lean on the ECF hotline. I am routinely surprised by how many people never think to call the Clerk’s ECF number for assistance. The Clerk’s staff is uniformly knowledgeable and eager to help. In particular, call them immediately if you made an ECF-based error while filing. The Clerk’s office can almost always fix it, and it is usually easier for everyone if you have not added to the problem by “fixing” it yourself. One note of caution though, as with calling chambers, give the Clerk’s office the courtesy of reviewing the ECF webpage first to make sure they have not already answered your question there.
25. Understand the Court’s pretrial order requirements. More than one Northern District judge will throw out inadequate pre-trial orders. One common flaw to watch for is insufficient statements of fact or conclusions of law. The local, form pre-trial order requires the parties to identify every fact they must prove at trial and every necessary conclusion of law, even for jury trials. This custom differs from some other districts (and not every Northern District judge requires it). Likely because of that and the general pre-trial time crunch, many parties fail to prepare sufficient statements. That can have serious consequences, so start on these early.

Continue Reading Northern District of Illinois Practice Tips Nos. 21-25

This is the fourth installment of my twenty five tips for Northern District of Illinois litigation practice, with a focus on IP litigation (here are the earlier tips: 1-5; 6-10; and 11-15). The tips are gleaned from my practice in the Northern District, my time as a law clerk for the Hon. Gordon J. Quist in the Western District of Michigan, and my reading of all of the Northern District of Illinois intellectual property opinions over the last four years. As you read them, let me know if you come up with others. I will be glad to include them as I go. Here are tips sixteen through twenty:
16. Meet and Confer. Wherever you practice you are likely aware of some version of a Local Rule 37.1 requirement to meet and confer regarding at least discovery motions. Generally, you do not need to meet and confer for dispositive motions, but you must for discovery motions as well as motions for extensions. Most judges will not hear a motion without a meet and confer, and some will deny the motion with prejudice for failing to meet and confer. If you are not sure whether your motion requires a meet and confer, err on the side of having one.
17. Tell the Court about your meet and confer. Do not forget to tell the Court you met and conferred in your motion, and describe the outcome. If you do not, you risk denial of your motion, and always identify agreed or stipulated motions in the title and the docket entry.
18. Use the Online Transcript System. Take advantage of the Northern District’s first-in-the-nation online transcript ordering system. Prior to this system, getting transcripts was difficult, but now getting a hearing transcript is as easy as buying a book on It is a great advantage for litigators preparing motions that relate to prior hearings.
19. Calculate your hearing date. Each judge has a different minimum notice period for motions. Many judges allow notice three business days after filing, but a few only require two and others require four. On a similar note, check the judge’s website for allowable motion call days and times, and any days when the judge will not be hearing motions.
20. Deliver prompt, correct courtesy copies. The Local Rules require delivery of courtesy copies of to the Court within one day of filing. But some judges require same day courtesy copies if at all possible. For those judges, if you cannot deliver same day you should at least deliver early the next morning. Also, make sure you format the copies correctly. For example, most judges require exhibits to be separated by tabs, and some judges require that papers be bound on the left-hand side. And for many judges, you must include copies of any unreported cases cited in your papers.

Continue Reading Northern District of Illinois Practice Tips Nos. 16-20

This is the second installment of my twenty five tips for Northern District of Illinois litigation practice, with a focus on IP litigation. The tips are gleaned from my practice in the Northern District, my time as a law clerk for the Hon. Gordon J. Quist in the Western District of Michigan, and my reading of all of the Northern District of Illinois intellectual property opinion over the last four years. As you read them, let me know if you come up with others. I will be glad to include them as I go. Here are tips six through ten:
6. Redact personal information. Make sure that you are redacting personal information, social security numbers, phone numbers, etc., from any papers filed with the Court. Most litigants are good at this in their pleadings. But there is a significant drop off in attention to this rule in exhibits and other filed papers. There can be serious consequences to running afoul of this rule both to the litigator and to the individual whose information is publicly disclosed.
7. Attend hearings. Parties often do not attend hearings because they expect a motion to by granted (for example, an extension of time or motion to withdraw when other counsel has appeared in the case) or because they do not have a stake in the motion between their opponent and a co-defendant. This can be a critical mistake. First, most judges require all parties’ attendance at all hearing on a case. Second, you cannot guarantee that issues implicating yoru client will not be addressed at the hearing. And if they are addressed, you cannot necessarily count upon either your opponent or your co-defendant to protect your interests.
8. Pay attention to the court reporter. The hardest working person in the courtroom is almost always the court reporter; help them out. Offer a card or spell your name on the record. Speak clearly and at a modest speed. As much as you may feel the need to, do not speak over your opponent. If you are on a telephone conference, announce yourself when you speak. This both helps the reporter and makes the record much more clear.
9. Attend hearings by phone sparingly. In deference to the cost of bringing non-Chicago counsel to every hearing, many judges in the Northern District liberally permit attendance by telephone. This is an enormous convenience and cost-savings, but when not used carefully can have a negative impact on your case. It is impossible to interpret a judge’s visual cues on the phone, unless they describe them to you at which point it is far too late. If the hearing is of any import, either attend live or send local counsel fully prepared to address all issues, if live attendance is not possible.
10. Listen on phone hearings. Too many lawyers when given an opportunity to argue their point during a telephonic hearing, speak until they are done. That has the advantage of getting your point across, but you have no idea if the judge is trying to ask you a question or even stop you completely. And when you are speaking into a speakerphone, you cannot hear anyone else, most importantly the judge, that may be trying to stop you or ask you a question. In the best case, that leaves the judge exasperated, and in the worst case the judge may view you as disrespectful, unnecessarily argumentative and as not listening to the Court. None of these are good results, and it is easily avoidable if you teach yourself to pause periodically. The pauses give you the time for the Court to give you verbal cues that you could get visually or verbally in the courtroom.

Continue Reading Northern District of Illinois Practice Tips Nos. 6-10

For the next five Fridays, I will be running a series of twenty five tips for Northern District of Illinois litigation practice, with a focus on IP litigation. The tips are not in a particular order, so I will not countdown backwards to tip number one. Why twenty-five? I found that beyond twenty five, the tips became focused upon minutia. The tips are gleaned from my practice in the Northern District, my time as a law clerk for the Hon. Gordon J. Quist in the Western District of Michigan, and my reading of all of the Northern District of Illinois intellectual property opinion over the last four years. As you read them, let me know if you come up with others. I will be glad to include them as I go. Here are the first five:
1. Draft complaints to meet both the Local Rules and the Judge’s requirements. There are pleading requirements in the Local Rules that are pretty standard, but do not make the mistake of failing to review them because they may not be the same as courts you are more familiar with. And do not stop at reading the Local Rules, check out requirements of specific judges before deciding, for example, how many unrelated parties to put into a single patent complaint. Click here for some examples of opinions to consider.
2. Repeat plaintiffs’ allegations in your answers. Local Rules require that you repeat the complaint paragraphs in your answer. Most judges will not return your answer for failing to do so, but some will. And even if they do not, you render your answer far less useful a tool for the judge and her chambers.
3. Deliver courtesy copies. The Local Rules require courtesy copies be delivered within one business day, and some judges’ standing orders require same day delivery. Opinions chastising counsel for failing to provide courtesy copies are surprisingly frequent. But even if your judge does not penalize you for failing to meet the courtesy copy requirements (and some will) if your motion or response is on a tight schedule you run the risk of not being fully heard. For example, if you are filing a response brief the day before a motion is to be heard and you bring your courtesy copies with you to the hearing you have only the slimmest chance that your brief is being read and digested before the hearing.
4. Certificates of service are not required when all parties are on ECF. This may not be mission critical, but using an unnecessary certificate of service signals to your opponent that you are not well versed in the Local Rules or custom. That is not necessarily a fact that you want to give away.
5. Signature blocks require both email and a fax number. Despite the 2008 revision to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, many litigators still do not add email or fax numbers to signature blocks. I have not seen anyone sanctioned or warned for this omission yet, but you do not want to be the first.

Continue Reading Northern District of Illinois Practice Tips Nos. 1-5

The Northern District of Illinois sent the following invitation to e-filers for its eleventh annual Awards for Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service next Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 3:00pm in the Dirksen courthouse:
The Judges of the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Illinois
the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association
cordially invite you to attend the presentation of their
Eleventh Annual
Awards for Excellence in Pro Bono
and Public Interest Service
Lawrence Baca
President of the Federal Bar Association
as the Keynote Speaker
Wednesday, May 26, 2010, beginning at 3:00 p.m.
James Benton Parsons Memorial Courtroom
Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse
Twenty-fifth floor
219 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois
Reception immediately following in the 25th floor lobby.

Continue Reading Northern District of Illinois Excellence in Pro Bono Awards

President Obama announced a couple of nominations this week impacting the Northern District of Illinois and the national patent bar.
First, President Obama appointed WilmerHale partner Edward DuMont to the Federal Circuit. DuMont clerked for the Seventh Circuit’s Judge Posner and was an Assistant to the Solicitor General where he briefed and argued Supreme Court cases. DuMont currently has an appellate practice with a considerable focus on patent and intellectual property issues (click here for DuMont’s firm bio). DuMont also spent a year working for a law firm in Bangkok, Thailand. DuMont’s Supreme Court and varied appellate experience make him a very interesting choice to take Judge Michel’s place on the Federal Circuit bench.
Second, President Obama has nominated the Northern District’s Deputy U.S. Marshall Senior Inspector Darryl McPherson to become the Northern District’s next U.S. Marshall. McPherson has served as a Deputy U.S. Marshall since 1999 and won a Special Recognition award for his service as lead Deputy Marshall for Judge Lefkow.
Both nomination must be confirmed by a vote of the U.S. Senate.

Continue Reading President Obama Makes Northern District of Illinois & IP Nominations

When I wrote the title to this post it was difficult to capture how significant this story is to practitioners. The Northern District of Illinois has introduced an online transcript ordering system that can be used to order transcripts from any judge and court reporter in the Northern District. The Northern District believes this is the first system like it in the federal courts. This simple form — click here to access it — transforms what used to be an individualized process that was often difficult to navigate for both practitioners and the court reporters themselves because it required identifying the particular court report and then trying to reach the reporter, who likely spends most of the business day in court or back at their office performing the complex task of turning the rough transcript into the record of the court’s proceedings. And it further simplifies the process by identifying the available delivery and timing options for the transcripts, so that the reporters do not have to explain the options to each attorney that calls them.

Continue Reading N.D. Illinois Introduces Online Transcript Ordering

The Northern District of Illinois continued its historically busy intellectual property docket in 2009. For the first time in several years, there was a slight decrease in patent case filings. Of course, that is not surprising in light of a difficult economy and patent filings being down across the country. And I suspect that the new Local Patent Rules* will result in an increase in patent litigation filings for 2010. Trademark cases bucked their downward trend over the last several years, and were up by about 10% over 2008. Finally, copyright cases continued a relatively steep decline. But despite the decline, the Northern District maintains one of the most active copyright dockets in the country. This chart shows the number of yearly patent, trademark and copyright cases filed in the Northern District during calendar years 2006 through 2009 (data gathered from the Stanford IP Clearinghouse and Pacer):
Northern District IP Case Filings
Case Type
* Click here for much more on the Local Patent Rules in the Blog’s archives.

Continue Reading N.D. Illinois: 2009 Intellectual Property Filings

The most popular posts on the Blog during 2009, in terms of both views and reader questions, were those on the Local Patent Rules. Because of high interest, I have plans for additional analysis this year. This is the first of those posts. In late 2009, I had an article published in Bloomberg Law discussing why the new Rules will drive patent cases to the Northern District of Illinois. Bloomberg generously allowed me to post a pdf version of the story — click here to download it — and to repost it on the blog. Here is the article:
The Northern District of Illinois enacted Local Patent Rules (“LPR” or “Rules”) on October 1, 2009. The purpose of the Rules is to normalize patent litigation in the Northern District of Illinois and to streamline the patent litigation discovery process. See LPR, Preamble. The rules also make clear that the court does not intend to become a “rocket docket.” In fact, the Rules create a schedule that would have cases ready for trial in a little over two years, although cases would not necessarily be tried at that time. That is at most a modest change from the court’s average time to trial for all cases–about twenty-seven months, according to the most recent Federal Court Management Statistics.
The Northern District of Illinois did not intend that its new Rules would drive patent cases to Chicago, as has happened when other courts enacted local patent rules, such as the Eastern District of Texas. But despite its intentions, the Northern District of Illinois’s plan to normalize patent litigation practice and streamline discovery will significantly increase patent filings in Chicago. To understand why the Rules will increase case filings, it is important to understand the process created by the Rules, and then look at the impact specific Rules will have for both patentholders and accused infringers.
The Rules
The Rules were drafted and revised after public comment by a committee comprised of practitioners representing a cross-section of the District’s patent bar and four Northern District of Illinois judges: Chief Judge James F. Holderman, Judge Matthew F. Kennelly, Judge James B. Zagel, and Judge Amy J. St. Eve. The Rules were then enacted by the Northern District of Illinois judges.
The Rules require early discovery through substantial production obligations accompanying all parties’ Initial Disclosures. The Rules also require parties to take early positions on the merits of their claims and defenses in the form of Initial Contentions, presumably based upon documents exchanged with Initial Disclosures. Finally, the Rules position claim construction at the end of fact discovery, and show a preference against summary judgment motions prior to claim construction.
Here is a more detailed look at the schedule and duties contemplated by the Rules:
Protective Order. A standard two-tier protective order is deemed entered when Initial Disclosures are served. LPR 1.4. Any party is free to seek modifications to the protective order. Id. The automatic entry of the order prevents discovery delays while parties negotiate a proposed protective order and reduces legal fees for the negotiation.
Initial Disclosures & Production. Two weeks after the accused infringer answers, or two weeks after the patentholder answers any counterclaims, the parties must exchange substantive, non-evasive Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a) Initial Disclosures. LPR 2.1. And along with the Initial Disclosures, the parties must exchange initial document production.
LPR 2.1(a) requires patentholders to produce all documents regarding: 1) any sale, offer for sale or use of the patented invention before filing; 2) design, reduction to practice, or invention of the patented technology generally; 3) all communications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the prosecution history) for the patents in suit and any patents from which they claim priority; and 4) ownership of the patent. LPR 2.1(b) requires that along with its Initial Disclosures, an accused infringer produce: 1) documents sufficient to show the operation and construction of each element of any product or process specifically accused in the Complaint; and 2) copies of all known prior art. Additionally, all parties are required to identify which documents, by Bates number, fall into each required production category. For cases in which there are lengthy lists of accused products, both the production and the identification of documents by categories could be a significant undertaking early in a case.
Initial Contentions. Two weeks after Initial Disclosures are served, parties claiming patent infringement serve Initial Infringement Contentions that will likely be substantive because the patentholder should have the accused infringer’s Initial Disclosure document production. LPR 2.2. Two weeks after Initial Infringement Contentions are served, accused infringers serve Initial Non-infringement, Unenforceability and Invalidity Contentions. LPR 2.3. Along with these contentions, accused infringers must produce any additional documents relied upon including prior art and technical information. Two weeks later, patentholders must serve an Initial Response to Invalidity Contentions. LPR 2.5.
Final Contentions. Twenty-one weeks after Initial Infringement Contentions, parties claiming infringement serve Final Infringement Contentions, and accused infringers serve Final Unenforceability and Invalidity Contentions at the same time. LPR 3.1. Four weeks later, accused infringers serve Final Non-infringement Contentions and parties claiming patent infringement serve Final Enforceability and Validity Contentions (after the final contentions, leave of Court is required for any amendments). LPR 3.2. This gives the parties about four months to complete the bulk of their technical discovery and depositions.
Final Contentions are not amendable without a Court order upon a showing of good cause and an absence of unfair prejudice to the opposing party. LPR 3.4. In a comment, the court noted that its adoption of a new, unargued claim construction would be an example of good cause.
Deadline for Stays Pending Reexamination. No party can seek a stay pending reexamination after serving its Final Contentions. LPR 3.5. The Rule, however does not create a presumption for staying cases pending reexamination prior to the cutoff date. Id.
Claim Construction. The claim construction process begins two weeks after defendant’s Final Invalidity Contentions are served with an exchange of terms and proposed constructions. LPR 4.1(a). Within seven days of exchanging terms, the parties must meet and confer to agree upon no more than ten terms for construction by the court. Presenting more than ten terms requires prior leave of court and requires a showing of good cause. LPR 4.1(b).
Claim Construction Briefing. Five weeks after exchanging terms, accused infringers file opening claim construction briefs along with a joint appendix by all parties including the patents in suit and their prosecution histories consecutively paginated. LPR 4.2(a)-(b). Parties claiming patent infringement have four weeks to file response briefs. LPR 4.2(c). Accused infringers have fourteen days to file a reply. LPR 4.2(d). Any party offering witness testimony must include a sworn declaration and promptly make the witness available for deposition. If witness testimony is included in a response brief, the reply deadline is extended by seven days.
After the reply brief is filed, the parties have seven days to file a joint claim construction chart setting out each claim term, the proposed constructions, and the parties’ proposal for a claim construction hearing.
Claim Construction Hearing. The Rules contemplate a claim construction hearing four weeks after the reply brief, but the judge can decline a hearing. LPR 4.3. The lack of a hearing may be a reason to allow a sur-reply brief. Id. A judge also may decide not to accept a reply brief. The parties must exchange all exhibits, including demonstratives, at least three days before a claim construction hearing. Id.
Fact Discovery Close. Fact discovery closes six weeks after the claim construction rulings, which triggers expert discovery followed by a dispositive motion deadline. LPR 1.3. Fact discovery is also suspended from four weeks after the LPR 4.1(a) exchange of claim terms, until the Court enters a claim construction ruling. LPR 1.3. This leaves parties free to focus on claim construction briefing without dealing with discovery issues at the same time.
Expert Discovery. Three weeks after the close of fact discovery, parties must make their initial expert witness disclosures for non-claim construction issues on which they have the burden of proof. LPR 5.1(b). Five weeks later, rebuttal expert witness disclosures are due. LPR 5.1(c). Expert depositions must be finished five weeks later. LPR 5.2. Supplementation of expert reports after the LPR 5.1 deadlines is presumed prejudicial and is not allowed absent a showing that the material could not have been added or amended earlier and that there is no unfair prejudice. LPR 5.3.
Trial. Cases should be trial ready approximately two years after the filing of the complaint. This would be slightly faster than the Northern District of Illinois’s average time to trial of twenty seven months. But the Rules do not require that trial occur at that time, just that the case is ready for trial.
The Rules Will Drive Patent Cases to Chicago
While the Northern District has made clear that it is not transforming itself into a “rocket docket” like the District of Virginia or the Western District of Wisconsin, the newly enacted Rules will significantly increase patent litigation filings in Chicago. The cases will not proceed to trial faster than the Northern District’s average for Eastern all cases of slightly more than twenty-seven months, but the path to trial will be significantly different as described above. The changes are even-handed, with Rules benefiting patentholders being largely offset by the Rules that benefit accused infringers. One might expect even-handed Rules to have little impact on filings, but in this case patentholders will conclude that the Rules provide enough value to overcome the Rules that benefit accused infringers. The Rules, therefore, will draw patent cases to the Northern District. Here are the particular elements of the Rules that will attract patent plaintiffs to the Northern District, along with an analysis of how the Rules nevertheless also benefit accused infringers.
1. Substantive Initial Disclosures & Document Production.
LPR 2.1 requires that parties exchange significant discovery along with their Initial Disclosures. In particular, accused infringers must produce documents sufficient to show how all specifically accused products or processes operate. LPR. 2.1(b). This early document production, which is generally contemplated by Rule 26 but almost never done in practice, will be a major draw for patentholders. The ability to get immediate technical information in discovery, without the expense of serving document requests, is significant. It allows patentholders to have information before preparing their Initial Infringement Contentions. Patentholders will also get a preview of invalidity defenses and patentholders receive all of this information early in the case, before they incur significant discovery costs.
But while LPR 2.1 will attract patent plaintiffs, it also benefits accused infringers. As described above, patentholders must make an initial document production as well, and their obligation is more significant. LPR 2.1(a). Additionally, as with accused infringers, patentholders must identify which documents correspond to each of the four categories. Having this early information will allow accused infringers to evaluate their defenses early in the case and prepare for early dispositive motions such as motions challenging ownership or validity based upon a bar date. And the documents will allow accused infringers to update affirmative defenses or add counterclaims before there could be any prejudice.
Finally, the accused infringers’ production obligation regarding its products is only triggered if the patentholder specifically identifies the accused products in its complaint. This will strongly encourage plaintiffs to identify the accused products in the complaint. A standard which comports with the Twombly/Iqbal pleading standards and will lead to more focused patent litigations. R. David Donoghue, The Uneven Application of Twombly in Patent Cases: An argument for Leveling the Playing Field, 8 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. 1.1 (2008).
2. Defendant opens and closes Markman briefing.
Most Districts either have two rounds of concurrent claim construction briefing or a traditional opening-response-reply schedule with the patentholder opening and replying. Significantly, the Rules provide for a single set of briefs, with the accused infringer–not the patentholder–submitting the initial and final briefs. The court reasoned that this briefing schedule provided the best, most coherent set of papers because a patentholder’s opening brief often argues for “ordinary” meanings of most terms without specific proposed definitions. Then after the accused infringer offers constructions in its response, the patentholder offers detailed constructions of those terms for the first time on reply. That scenario either leaves the accused infringer without a chance to answer the patentholder’s constructions on the papers, or it requires a sur-reply. Similarly, concurrent briefing results in the parties arguing past each other, generating briefs that do not fully crystallize the issues for the court. Writing first and last, of course, benefits the accused infringer. But the patentholder saves money by only writing one brief and can make any follow up arguments during a hearing or seek a sur-reply if the court does not hold a hearing.
3. Late Claim Construction briefing.
The final major draw for patentholders is the late claim construction proceedings. In addition to cost savings in the briefing process, claim construction is set during the end of a floating fact discovery period that is scheduled to end forty-five days after the court rules on claim construction. Maintaining pre-claim construction uncertainty through most of discovery benefits patentholders. Furthermore, the Rules make clear that a judge can disregard early dispositive motions that would require claim construction before the claim construction contemplated by the Rules. LPR 1.1. So, patentholders may face fewer early summary judgment motions.
The Northern District of Illinois’s Local Patent Rules are evenhanded, benefiting both patentholders and accused infringers. But the specific benefits afforded patentholders will drive patentholders to file in the Northern District of Illinois over other courts, some that may have faster times to trial.
R. David Donoghue is a litigation partner in Holland & Knight’s Intellectual Property Group focusing on patent disputes. His practice spans diverse technology areas including cellular telephony, computer software, internet technologies, pharmaceuticals, automotive technologies, television production equipment, nutritional supplements, and numerous medical devices. He also has extensive intellectual property licensing experience. Mr. Donoghue was previously with Delphi, the world’s largest automotive supplier, where he was a founding member of Delphi’s Technology Licensing and Litigation group. Additionally, Mr. Donoghue founded and authors the Chicago IP Litigation Blog where he analyzes intellectual property cases in the Northern District of Illinois ( He can be reached by phone at 312.578.6553 or by email at
© 2009 Bloomberg Finance L.P. All rights reserved. Originally published by Bloomberg Finance L.P in the Vol. 3, No. 48 edition of the Bloomberg Law Reports – Intellectual Property. Reprinted with permission. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not represent those of Bloomberg Finance L.P. Bloomberg Law Reports® is a registered trademark and service mark of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

Continue Reading N.D. Illinois Local Patent Rules Will Drive Cases to Chicago