By The Honorable Randall R. Rader | 62 Am. U. L. Rev. 1105 (2013)
Recently, I have seen several big-budget television commercials invoke patents while marketing their goods. The general public’s recognition of the importance of patents to innovation and our economy is perhaps at an all-time high. Many factors probably drive this increased awareness, including our daily dependence on modern technology and media coverage of high-profile litigations and patent acquisitions. This increased attention has implications as well in the legal world. For those of us embedded within the patent system, we are experiencing a very important shift in the perception and operation of our discipline. For instance, many of the more prominent jurisdictions for patent trials are implementing local rules allowing uniform, fast, and cost-effective discovery and case development. The Patent Cases Pilot Program is similarly starting to influence the processes and efficiency of patent litigation with a heightened expertise in our already-marvelously-competent trial judges. Of
course, the elephant in the room regarding changes to patent law and litigation is the enactment of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA).
While the full impact of these changes—mostly procedural in nature—remain to be seen, a statement of our expectations for these changes at this point may well help assess the degree of change achieved by this legislation. Therefore, at this point of embarkation for the AIA and the advent for the Patent Pilot Program, I will briefly look at the potential for change in both district court patent litigation and Patent Office review of issued patents.