Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has reintroduced a bill to promote the use of patent-experienced judges to decide patent infringement cases. The bill has considerable support, and an almost identical version passed the House of Representatives last year. The bill would establish a 10-year pilot program where an increased number of patent cases in selected U.S. District Courts would be decided by judges who expressed an interest in patent cases. The bill would also provide extra funding for educating the judiciary and for providing law clerks having technical expertise to judges in the program. Periodic reports on the program would be made to Congress so that Congress could consider expansion of the program in the future.
The pilot program appears to be a step in the right direction for dealing with complex legal and technical issues in patent cases. If administered properly, the program will hopefully provide higher quality district court decisions and reduce the cost of litigation. IP News & Comment will continue to monitor and report the bill's progress.