Intellectual Property Alert: United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts Adopts New Patent Rule

Last November, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts adopted a new local patent rule after a public comment period. The new rule, Local Rule 16.6, provides special scheduling and procedures for litigants in a patent case. Why the new rule? To provide both patentees and accused infringers a more even-handed litigation process. Other districts such as the Northern District of California are sought after by many litigants in patent infringement cases because they are seen as operating more efficiently, having rules that streamline the litigation process. Still, some have argued that while these venues provide structure, their local rules are too stringent. The District of Massachusetts wanted to provide more uniformity and predictability to the sometimes unwieldy patent litigation process by providing a guideline for discovery and contention positions. Local Rule 16.6 is meant to supplement Local Rule 16.1 by highlighting certain aspects of cases particular to patent law, such as infringement and invalidity contentions and Markman hearings.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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