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.