H. R. 628
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
To establish a pilot program in certain United States district courts to encourage enhancement of expertise in patent cases among district judges.
Pilot program in certain district courts
There is established a program, in each of the United States district courts designated under subsection (b), under which—
those district judges of that district court who request to hear cases under which 1 or more issues arising under any Act of Congress relating to patents or plant variety protection are required to be decided, are designated by the chief judge of the court to hear those cases;
cases described in subparagraph (A) are randomly assigned to the judges of the district court, regardless of whether the judges are designated under subparagraph (A);
a judge not designated under subparagraph (A) to whom a case is assigned under subparagraph (B) may decline to accept the case; and
a case declined under subparagraph (C) is randomly reassigned to 1 of those judges of the court designated under subparagraph (A).
Senior judges of a district court may be designated under paragraph (1)(A) if at least 1 judge of the court in regular active service is also so designated.
Right to transfer cases preserved
This section shall not be construed to limit the ability of a judge to request the reassignment of or otherwise transfer a case to which the judge is assigned under this section, in accordance with otherwise applicable rules of the court.
Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts shall designate not less than 6 United States district courts, in at least 3 different judicial circuits, in which the program established under subsection (a) will be carried out.
Criteria for designations
Except as provided under subparagraph (B), the Director shall make designations under paragraph (1) from—
the 15 district courts in which the largest number of patent and plant variety protection cases were filed in the most recent calendar year that has ended; or
the district courts that have adopted local rules for patent and plant variety protection cases.
The Director may only designate a court in which—
at least 10 district judges are authorized to be appointed by the President, whether under section 133(a) of title 28, United States Code, or on a temporary basis under other provisions of law; and
at least 3 judges of the court have made the request under subsection (a)(1)(A).
The program established under subsection (a) shall terminate 10 years after the end of the 6-month period described in subsection (b).
The program established under subsection (a) shall apply in a district court designated under subsection (b) only to cases commenced on or after the date of such designation.
Reports to Congress
At the times specified in paragraph (2), the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, in consultation with the chief judge of each of the district courts designated under subsection (b) and the Director of the Federal Judicial Center, shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate a report on the pilot program established under subsection (a). The report shall include—
an analysis of the extent to which the program has succeeded in developing expertise in patent and plant variety protection cases among the district judges of the district courts so designated;
an analysis of the extent to which the program has improved the efficiency of the courts involved by reason of such expertise;
with respect to patent cases handled by the judges designated pursuant to subsection (a)(1)(A) and judges not so designated, a comparison between the 2 groups of judges with respect to—
the rate of reversal, by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, of such cases on the issues of claim construction and substantive patent law; and
the period of time elapsed from the date on which a case is filed to the date on which trial begins or summary judgment is entered;
a discussion of any evidence indicating that litigants select certain of the judicial districts designated under subsection (b) in an attempt to ensure a given outcome; and
an analysis of whether the pilot program should be extended to other district courts, or should be made permanent and apply to all district courts.
Timetable for reports
The times referred to in paragraph (1) are—
not later than the date that is 5 years and 3 months after the end of the 6-month period described in subsection (b); and
not later than 5 years after the date described in subparagraph (A).
The Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, in consultation with the chief judge of each of the district courts designated under subsection (b) and the Director of the Federal Judicial Center, shall keep the committees referred to in paragraph (1) informed, on a periodic basis while the pilot program is in effect, with respect to the matters referred to in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph (1).
Authorization for Training and Clerkships
In addition to any other funds made available to carry out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated not less than $5,000,000 in each fiscal year for—
educational and professional development of those district judges designated under subsection (a)(1)(A) in matters relating to patents and plant variety protection; and
compensation of law clerks with expertise in technical matters arising in patent and plant variety protection cases, to be appointed by the courts designated under subsection (b) to assist those courts in such cases.
Availability of funds
Amounts made available pursuant to this subsection shall remain available until expended.
Passed the House of Representatives March 17, 2009.
Lorraine C. Miller,