Issue Date: January 10, 2011
Bill Seeks To Enhance Patent Case Expertise
Legislation to establish a pilot program in at least six district courts that seeks to enhance the expertise of judges who hear patent cases was signed by President Barack Obama last week. The intent of the program is to steer patent disputes to judges who have the desire and aptitude to hear such cases, while preserving the principle of random assignment to help avoid so-called forum shopping, according to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the bill’s chief sponsor. In floor remarks before the final House passage of H.R. 628, Issa stressed that the measure is not aimed at creating “specialty courts.” Rather, he said, its purpose is to allow judges who are experienced and interested in patent litigation to step forward and handle those cases. Under the legislation, if a judge opts in to the new program and a patent case is randomly assigned to that judge, he or she keeps the case. When a case is assigned to a judge who has not chosen to hear patent cases, that judge may keep the case or refer it to the group of judges who have opted in to the program.
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