Madison on Drafting Local Court Rules for Patent Cases

By Eric Goldman

Michael Madison gives an interesting account of his experiences drafting local court rules for patent cases.

While the idea of creating some incentives for parties to engage in forum-shopping may sound good in theory, I wonder how much local court rules can affect that decision–especially in patent cases where the where-to-sue decision is complex, high-stakes and potentially very costly. Michael ultimately suggests that concern by noting the limitations of how much local court rules can affect the case.

For me, the more interesting aspect of his post is his narrative of a rule-making process. Michael’s post exposes the complex balancing act:

* how to implement a broad social goal (lure patent litigation into Pittsburgh, and help patent litigants resolve their disputes in a satisfactory manner)

* how to allocate policy benefits/detriments to the players (i.e., the local court rules might be plaintiff-favorable or defendant-favorable…who should we favor, and why?)

* who should participate in the rule-making process (in this case, not the public at large)

Deconstructed in this fashion, Michael’s write up is a good narrative of the strengths–and dangers–of our current rule-making systems.

UPDATE: A former student sent Minnesota’s effort to develop local patent rules.