In the midst of ongoing congressional efforts at patent litigation reform (see Monday’s post for the most recent developments), U.S. District Court Judge Sue Robinson released a new scheduling order on Monday, directed to better managing the hundreds of patent cases before her in the District of Delaware. Resulting from “the lively and informative discussions” prompted by the District of Delaware’s Patent Study Group, Judge Robinson’s new scheduling order implements several changes to improve efficiency and protect against perceived nuisances, including:
- Submitting all discovery disputes, overall management of discovery, and motions to dismiss, to amend, and to transfer to a Magistrate Judge;
- Requiring certain patent disclosures in advance of the initial scheduling conference, including plaintiffs’ identification of the accused products, its damages model, and which patents the accused products are alleged to infringe and defendants’ core technical documents demonstrating how the accused products work;
- Setting forth at the onset of the case a schedule for claim construction briefing, expert discovery and reports, summary judgment briefing on infringement and invalidity, and trial; and
- Eliminating motions in limine, instead addressing evidentiary issues at the pretrial conference and during trial.
At least some of these changes should be familiar to those who have litigated in districts with patent-specific scheduling orders, including N.D. Cal., E.D. Tex. and the ITC. Judge Robinson, whose docket currently hosts upwards of 300 patent cases, indicated in a letter to counsel that all non-ANDA patent cases that have had a scheduling order entered in the past six months will presumptively be switching to the new process, while preserving, to the extent possible, any pretrial and trial dates that have already been scheduled. Additional information regarding procedures in Judge Robinson’s court is available on her chambers’ website.