At the Annual Berkeley-Stanford Advanced Patent Law Institute, panelists including U.S. Circuit Judge Kara Farnandez Stoll and U.S. District Judge Alan D Albright offered an in-depth look at the latest developments in patent law and practice. The panel, which was moderated by Winston & Strawn Partner Kathi Vidal, focused on how the transition to remote proceedings has allowed for efficiency in court proceedings and has allowed junior attorneys to gain more opportunities in the courtroom.
Judge Albright noted that while firms may not have previously been able to justify the costs of flying an associate out to different venues, remote proceedings do not pass costs along to clients. Judge Stoll also noted that appearing virtually or telephonically has helped reduced the anxiety for junior attorneys. She attributed this to the fact that junior attorneys can have more experienced colleagues in the room helping them out or can search for answers while arguing rather than having to wait until they get back to their table. She also noted that she would be open to attorneys splitting argument time in order to give junior lawyers opportunities.
When asked whether they would continue to have remote proceedings, even after the courts and the counties begin opening up, the Judges indicated that they would be open to doing so. Judge Albright spoke to the benefits of Zoom, stating that he prefers litigants to present their demonstratives virtually, as opposed to sending physical copies. Judge Stoll, who was uncertain how the Federal Circuit would handle proceedings going forward, also acknowledged the benefit of keeping remote proceedings for some cases. She stated that while appellate litigation is largely decided on the papers, she found that when oral argument was required, litigants were able to better answer her questions telephonically than if they were in person. She attributed this to litigants generally being more focused on the Court’s questions, not being distracted by visuals, and being able to collaborate or look up answers.