Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts has advised President Obama that he will become a Senior Judge on June 1, 2015. A graduate of Yale University (B.A., 1969) and the Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., 1975), Judge Woodlock was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. A talented and studied jurist, Judge Woodlock presided over numerous patent cases throughout his tenure. One of his most interesting patent cases was Genzyme Corp. v. Seikagaku Corp., et al., No. 11-cv-10636 (D. Mass.). The unique aspect of Genzyme, was not necessarily the dispute raised by the case itself, but rather, the jury selection process that was relatively unique.
In presiding over the jury selection, Judge Woodlock employed a jury questionnaire — jointly proposed by the parties – designed to narrow the pool of potential jurors to those who had some knowledge of patents, biology, chemistry, and technology. Specifically, jurors were asked to indicate whether they had “any knowledge of, or education, training or work experience” in multiple areas, including patents. With this additional insight regarding potential jurors, who often have little or no prior experience with the patent system, the parties were ultimately able to agree on a jury for a highly complex patent case. The joint proposed jury questionnaire from Genzyme may be found here.
The full text of the press release announcing Judge Woodlock’s decision may be found here.