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Mixed Results: Patent Pilot Program Boosts Efficiency and Expertise but Hasn't Increased Case Volume

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

By Tracy Carbasho

Federal judges in the Western District of Pennsylvania say a 10-year program is helping them become more efficient at handling complicated patent cases even though they haven’t seen a significant increase in this type of litigation during the first half of the initiative. Statistics provided by District Court Clerk Robert Barth Jr. and Chief Deputy Clerk Colleen Willison show that a total of 112 patent cases have been closed from the time the program was implemented in September 2011 through June 7 of this year. Currently, there are 14 pending cases.

Those figures are less than participating judges had expected. District Judge Cathy Bissoon said she doesn’t think the program is achieving its stated objectives because the district is not seeing a significant increase in the number of cases. “I do not believe the program has had the intended effect here in Pittsburgh,” she said. “We have seen very few cases in our court – certainly, too few for it to be considered an expertise enhancer.” U.S. District Court Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti said although there hasn’t been a major increase in the number of cases, another goal of the program – that judges enhance their experience level by presiding over patent litigation – is being accomplished.

“The number of patent case filings has not dramatically increased, but those that have been filed have been efficiently handled,” Conti said. “The court has taken great steps to be prepared to handle patent cases with patent pilot judges.” Efficiency is one of the goals of the program, which also will evaluate if there are differences in the reversal rates between judges with patent expertise and those without.

Read the full article in the ACBA Lawyers Journal: