The United States District Court for the District of Colorado has become the second court in the Tenth Circuit and joined 31 other federal courts by implementing their own local patent rules last month. The adoption of these rules was announced on June 11, 2014 as a Pilot Program Implementing Proposed Local Patent Rules. The court announcement (.pdf) states that the local patent rules will apply to all patent cases filed in the District of Colorado on or after August 1, 2014, so the rules were adopted in time for the official opening of the Regional Patent Office in Denver.

The District of Colorado’s Local Patent Rules (.pdf) are similar to those of other jurisdictions, but contain some key idiosyncrasies. Like most other jurisdictions, prior to commencement of a case, the parties are required to propose a Patent Scheduling Order that sets forth deadlines for each of the filings required by the rules. (Colo. LPR 2) Also, “a party claiming patent infringement shall serve Infringement Contentions identifying with specificity each accused product or process (the “Accused Instrumentality”).” (Colo. LPR  4(a))  The following features of the Court’s new Local Patent Rules differentiate them from those of other jurisdictions:

  • Claim Charts: Parties who serve Infringement Contentions must also serve a claim chart for each Accused Instrumentality, but “if two or more Accused Instrumentalities have the same relevant characteristics, they may be grouped together in one claim chart.” (Colo. LPR  4)
  • Response to Infringement Contentions: A party opposing an infringement claim is required to serve a Response to Infringement Contentions identifying the limitations of each asserted claim alleged not to be present in the Accused Instrumentality. (Colo.LPR  6).
  • Response to Invalidity Contentionsif Invalidity Contentions are filed, a party claiming infringement is required to serve a Response to Invalidity Contentions. (Colo. LPR  10).
  • Claim Construction BriefsClaim construction briefs have a word limit of 10,000 words. (Colo. LPR  17(a))  If a party files both a supporting brief and a reply brief,” the two briefs together shall not exceed 10,000 words.” (Colo. LPR  17(b)).

Key Takeaway: The new local patent rules for the District court of Colorado are designed to bring uniformity and efficiency to patent litigation. Practitioners will be expected to work cooperatively to develop a cost effective pretrial discovery schedule and clearly respond to the other party’s contentions.

Bill Johnson