The Eastern District of Texas has launched a new case management procedure for patent infringement lawsuits. The new procedures, dubbed “Track B” in the court’s General Order 14-3, are designed to give litigants an option that can help save money and move a case to resolution more quickly.
Key features of the Track B case management procedures are:
- within 14 days after the defendant files an answer or motion, the plaintiff must (i) serve infringement contentions, and (ii) disclose all licenses and settlement agreements involving the patents in suit;
- within 30 days after service of the infringement contentions, all parties must provide initial disclosures, and the defendants must produce summary sales information regarding the sales of accused products and reasonably similar products; and
- within 14 days after the initial disclosures and summary sales information, both parties must file a good faith estimate of damages;
- within 14 days of the good faith estimate, the defendant must serve its invalidity contentions.
After serving invalidity contentions, the case will quickly move to a management conference and discovery plan. Discovery prior to the conference will be limited to 5 interrogatories, 5 requests for production, and 5 requests for admission per side.
The Court’s traditional case management procedures (now called “Track A”) will remain the default. The court will apply Track B if and when the parties request it.
This is a good thing. Too often cases are dragged on much longer than they need to be.