The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has proposed a set of changes to its local rules governing patent infringement cases. The proposal would change and clarify several procedures, including:
- the Initial Scheduling Conference will be replaced with a Planning Meeting and Report that will address more than just scheduling, such as whether a special master may be helpful, early motions, the format of the claim construction hearing, and whether a tutorial will be used;
- the plaintiff’s Initial Disclosures must include all documents evidencing ownership of the patent;
- the defendant’s Initial Disclosures must include summary sales or use information about the accused product process;
- the plaintiff must provide a good faith damages estimate within 14 days of the defendant’s disclosure of summary sales information;
- additional model language for a Protective Order is provided;
- more precise pleading requirements for infringement will apply, including additional detail about the specific statutory section(s) asserted, direct infringement, and the doctrine of equivalents;
- new requirements on amendments of contentions, advice of counsel defense, and a prehearing statement.
The changes adapt various requirements that some other courts are already using, along with recent changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court will accept comments on the proposed changes through July 6, 2015. Additional details are available here.