[United States Statutes at Large, Volume 124, 111th Congress, 2nd Session]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]


Public Law 111-349
111th Congress

An Act


 
To establish a pilot program in certain United States district courts to
encourage enhancement of expertise in patent cases among district
judges. <>

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. <> PILOT PROGRAM IN CERTAIN
DISTRICT COURTS.

(a) Establishment.--
(1) In general.--There is established a program, in each of
the United States district courts designated under subsection
(b), under which--
(A) those district judges of that district court who
request to hear cases under which 1 or more issues
arising under any Act of Congress relating to patents or
plant variety protection are required to be decided, are
designated by the chief judge of the court to hear those
cases;
(B) cases described in subparagraph (A) are randomly
assigned to the judges of the district court, regardless
of whether the judges are designated under subparagraph
(A);
(C) a judge not designated under subparagraph (A) to
whom a case is assigned under subparagraph (B) may
decline to accept the case; and
(D) a case declined under subparagraph (C) is
randomly reassigned to 1 of those judges of the court
designated under subparagraph (A).
(2) Senior judges.--Senior judges of a district court may be
designated under paragraph (1)(A) if at least 1 judge of the
court in regular active service is also so designated.
(3) Right to transfer cases preserved.--This section shall
not be construed to limit the ability of a judge to request the
reassignment of or otherwise transfer a case to which the judge
is assigned under this section, in accordance with otherwise
applicable rules of the court.

(b) Designation.--
(1) In general <> .--Not later than 6
months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director
of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts shall
designate not less than 6 United States district courts, in at
least 3 different judicial circuits, in which the program
established under subsection (a) will be carried out.
(2) Criteria for designations.--
(A) In general.--The Director shall make
designations under paragraph (1) from--

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(i) the 15 district courts in which the
largest number of patent and plant variety
protection cases were filed in the most recent
calendar year that has ended; or
(ii) the district courts that have adopted, or
certified to the Director the intention to adopt,
local rules for patent and plant variety
protection cases.
(B) Selection of courts.--From amongst the district
courts that satisfy the criteria for designation under
this subsection, the Director shall select--
(i) 3 district courts that each have at least
10 district judges authorized to be appointed by
the President, whether under section 133(a) of
title 28, United States Code, or on a temporary
basis under any other provision of law, and at
least 3 judges of the court have made the request
under subsection (a)(1)(A); and
(ii) 3 district courts that each have fewer
than 10 district judges authorized to be appointed
by the President, whether under section 133(a) of
title 28, United States Code, or on a temporary
basis under any other provision of law, and at
least 2 judges of the court have made the request
under subsection (a)(1)(A).

(c) Duration.--The program established under subsection (a) shall
terminate 10 years after the end of the 6-month period described in
subsection (b).
(d) Applicability.--The program established under subsection (a)
shall apply in a district court designated under subsection (b) only to
cases commenced on or after the date of such designation.
(e) Reports to Congress.--
(1) In general.--At the times specified in paragraph (2),
the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States
Courts, in consultation with the chief judge of each of the
district courts designated under subsection (b) and the Director
of the Federal Judicial Center, shall submit to the Committee on
the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee
on the Judiciary of the Senate a report on the pilot program
established under subsection (a). The report shall include--
(A) an analysis of the extent to which the program
has succeeded in developing expertise in patent and
plant variety protection cases among the district judges
of the district courts so designated;
(B) an analysis of the extent to which the program
has improved the efficiency of the courts involved by
reason of such expertise;
(C) with respect to patent cases handled by the
judges designated pursuant to subsection (a)(1)(A) and
judges not so designated, a comparison between the 2
groups of judges with respect to--
(i) the rate of reversal by the Court of
Appeals for the Federal Circuit, of such cases on
the issues of claim construction and substantive
patent law; and
(ii) the period of time elapsed from the date
on which a case is filed to the date on which
trial begins or summary judgment is entered;

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(D) a discussion of any evidence indicating that
litigants select certain of the judicial districts
designated under subsection (b) in an attempt to ensure
a given outcome; and
(E) an analysis of whether the pilot program should
be extended to other district courts, or should be made
permanent and apply to all district courts.
(2) Timetable for reports.--The times referred to in
paragraph (1) are--
(A) not later than the date that is 5 years and 3
months after the end of the 6-month period described in
subsection (b); and
(B) not later than 5 years after the date described
in subparagraph (A).
(3) Periodic reports.--The Director of the Administrative
Office of the United States Courts, in consultation with the
chief judge of each of the district courts designated under
subsection (b) and the Director of the Federal Judicial Center,
shall keep the committees referred to in paragraph (1) informed,
on a periodic basis while the pilot program is in effect, with
respect to the matters referred to in subparagraphs (A) through
(E) of paragraph (1).

Approved January 4, 2011.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 628:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD:
Vol. 155 (2009):
Mar. 17, considered and passed
House.
Vol. 156 (2010):
Dec. 13, considered and passed
Senate, amended.
Dec. 16, 17, House considered and
concurred in Senate amendment.