Text: H.R.628 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 111-349 (01/04/2011)

 
[111th Congress Public Law 349]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]



[[Page 3673]]

                       PATENT CASES PILOT PROGRAM

[[Page 124 STAT. 3674]]

Public Law 111-349
111th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To establish a pilot program in certain United States district courts to 
   encourage enhancement of expertise in patent cases among district 
              judges. <<NOTE: Jan. 4, 2011 -  [H.R. 628]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 28 USC 137 note.>> PILOT PROGRAM IN CERTAIN 
                              DISTRICT COURTS.

    (a) Establishment.--
            (1) In general.--There is established a program, in each of 
        the United States district courts designated under subsection 
        (b), under which--
                    (A) 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;
                    (B) 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);
                    (C) a judge not designated under subparagraph (A) to 
                whom a case is assigned under subparagraph (B) may 
                decline to accept the case; and
                    (D) a case declined under subparagraph (C) is 
                randomly reassigned to 1 of those judges of the court 
                designated under subparagraph (A).
            (2) Senior judges.--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.
            (3) 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.

    (b) Designation.--
            (1) In general <<NOTE: Deadline.>> .--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.
            (2) Criteria for designations.--
                    (A) In general.--The Director shall make 
                designations under paragraph (1) from--

[[Page 124 STAT. 3675]]

                          (i) 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
                          (ii) the district courts that have adopted, or 
                      certified to the Director the intention to adopt, 
                      local rules for patent and plant variety 
                      protection cases.
                    (B) Selection of courts.--From amongst the district 
                courts that satisfy the criteria for designation under 
                this subsection, the Director shall select--
                          (i) 3 district courts that each have at least 
                      10 district judges authorized to be appointed by 
                      the President, whether under section 133(a) of 
                      title 28, United States Code, or on a temporary 
                      basis under any other provision of law, and at 
                      least 3 judges of the court have made the request 
                      under subsection (a)(1)(A); and
                          (ii) 3 district courts that each have fewer 
                      than 10 district judges authorized to be appointed 
                      by the President, whether under section 133(a) of 
                      title 28, United States Code, or on a temporary 
                      basis under any other provision of law, and at 
                      least 2 judges of the court have made the request 
                      under subsection (a)(1)(A).

    (c) Duration.--The program established under subsection (a) shall 
terminate 10 years after the end of the 6-month period described in 
subsection (b).
    (d) Applicability.--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.
    (e) Reports to Congress.--
            (1) In general.--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--
                    (A) 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;
                    (B) an analysis of the extent to which the program 
                has improved the efficiency of the courts involved by 
                reason of such expertise;
                    (C) 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--
                          (i) 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
                          (ii) 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;

[[Page 124 STAT. 3676]]

                    (D) 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
                    (E) 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.
            (2) Timetable for reports.--The times referred to in 
        paragraph (1) are--
                    (A) 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
                    (B) not later than 5 years after the date described 
                in subparagraph (A).
            (3) Periodic reports.--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).

    Approved January 4, 2011.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 628:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD:
                                                        Vol. 155 (2009):
                                    Mar. 17, considered and passed 
                                        House.
                                                        Vol. 156 (2010):
                                    Dec. 13, considered and passed 
                                        Senate, amended.
                                    Dec. 16, 17, House considered and 
                                        concurred in Senate amendment.

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