Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) General Order Regarding Alternative Procedure for Case Management

Julia Rowe and Pat McLane, Duff & Phelps

On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Judge Leonard Davis, Chief Judge for the Eastern District of Texas, signed General Order 14-03, General Order Regarding Track B Initial Patent Case Management Order (the “Order”). The Order introduces specialized case management procedures for the handling of patent litigation, which the Order refers to as “Track B.”  Although the local patent rules currently in place will remain as “Track A,” the purpose of Track B procedures is to achieve additional efficiencies and cost savings. Track B is meant to complement the default procedures of Track A by providing an alternative. 

Track B is available to parties that file a joint notice electing its entry, but it may also be ordered by the Court. Upon a Track B election, the Court will also enter its Standard Protective Order to facilitate the required disclosures. A summary of Track B procedure follows:

Overview of Track B Procedure

This is part of a larger trend to streamline production and other aspects of patent litigation to reduce costs, and several of the requirements in the Order reflect proposals currently under consideration in Congress. For example, a proposed amendment to the America Invents Act, H.R. 3309, calls upon the Judicial Conference of the United States to develop rules and procedures to address the asymmetries in discovery burdens and costs in civil actions relating to patents.4 These rules and procedures include provisions for the discovery of core documentary evidence, such as documents relating to any licensing of, or other transfer of rights to, the patents or patent(s) at issue before the date on which the complaint is filed.5

4 Innovation Act, H.R. 3309, 113th Cong. § 6(a)(1) (2013).  The Innovation Act is a bill to amend title 35, United States Code, and the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.

5 Innovation Act, H.R. 3309, 113th Cong. § 6(a)(3)(A)(i)(IV) (2013).

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