On March 23, 2009, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (“The Court”) issued proposed local rules for handling patent cases, continuing a trend that began in the Northern District of California in 2001. Since 2001, federal courts across the country have adopted local patent rules, from the Eastern District of Texas to the District of New Jersey. Within the Seventh Circuit, the judges in the Southern District of Indiana adopted local patent rules in the past year. The Northern District of Illinois is one of the largest and busiest federal courts in the country, and it is a popular forum for patent litigation, handling more than 140 patent suits in 2007.
The Northern District of Illinois proposed rules contemplate trial of patent infringement cases within two years of filing. Likewise, the proposed rules contemplate exchanging final infringement and invalidity contentions 32 and 36 weeks after filing, respectively; completing claim construction briefing within 48 weeks; and summary judgment motions being due no later than 81 weeks after filing. Notably, the proposed rules require opening, response and reply claim construction briefs as opposed to the simultaneous exchange of opening and response briefs common in some other courts.
The Court is accepting public comments on its proposed rules. To that end, Michael Best partner Arthur Gollwitzer III has studied the proposed rules and will be collecting and submitting comments to the Court in his capacity as Chair of the Seventh Circuit Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Committee. Michael Best will continue to monitor and update its clients on these ongoing developments.