Dallas Leads the Charge with New Patent Rules

By Vincent J. Allen

In an order issued April 2, Chief U.S. District Judge of the Northern District of Texas, A. Joe Fish, established case management rules on a trial basis for patent cases filed in the Dallas Division.  The patent rules apply to all civil actions containing an allegation of utility patent infringement and to any action seeking a declaration that a utility patent is not infringed, is invalid, or is unenforceable.  The patent rules take effect on May 1, 2007 and apply to any Dallas Division patent case filed on or after that date and to certain cases filed prior to the effective date.  Although other districts such as the Eastern District of Texas and the Northern District of California have had patent rules for some time, many other districts are now considering creating patent rules as well.  Dallas is the first in a new wave of districts likely to enact patent rules. Continue reading

The PTO’s New Accelerated Examination Program—Heaven Sent or Pandora’s Box?

By Zach W. Hilton

In March, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) celebrated the issuance of the first patent under its new accelerated examination program.  This patent issued from an application filed on September 29, 2006.  Implemented in August 2006, the accelerated examination program allows an applicant to dramatically shorten the time an application spends in the examination process.

With backlog prevalent throughout the PTO, patent practitioners and applicants have come to expect two to five years to elapse from the time of filing an application to allowance or final rejection. Continue reading