According to a report from the National Law Review, the District of Massachusetts enacted rule changes designed to speed up adjudication of patent lawsuits. The new rules call for a claim construction hearing within 9 months of the initial scheduling conference, and trial within 2 years. In addition, the rules now require patent owners to provide their infringement contentions within 3 weeks, followed by the accused infringer’s invalidity and non-infringement contentions, production of technical documents, and source code production a mere 6 weeks later.
Massachusetts is home to one of America’s chief innovation hubs. Yet, historically, the District of Massachusetts has seen relatively few patent cases when compared to other high-tech venues around the country. While there are several reasons that may explain this dearth of patent cases, factors many have pointed to include that a large number of patent cases filed in the district ended up taking 3 or more years to reach trial. Additionally, patent case schedules issued in the district were often criticized as slowly paced and lacking in certainty.
That may all be poised to change. A copy of the new local rules are available here.