Business Workshop: Pilot program for patent cases could bring more litigation work to Western Pa.

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The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has been selected to participate in a pilot program that could lead to an increase in patent infringement cases in the court.

And if the pilot goes as expected, it may also benefit local service industries that provide support to patent litigation.

The pilot program encourages the development of an advanced expertise in patent cases among district judges. The goal of the pilot program is to "create a cadre of judges who gain advanced knowledge of patent and plant variety protection through more intensified experience in handling the cases."

The pilot program enables district judges to request to hear patent cases. These judges will also have access to special training and information from the Federal Judicial Center.

In other jurisdictions, increasing the expertise of judges in intellectual property matters has led to an increase in the use of local attorneys and other service providers.

A key date in implementing the pilot program will be March 30, when Chief Judge Randall R. Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a continuing education seminar for lawyers to present details on how the pilot program works. The seminar will include panels of federal judges designated to handle these cases and local business executives involved in patent litigation.

Pittsburgh has a healthy number of qualified intellectual property attorneys. The opportunity to attract complex patent litigation cases to Western Pennsylvania will be enhanced by local judges with advanced knowledge and expertise in this area. It will also burnish Pittsburgh's already stellar reputation as a strong regional economy built on technology and a knowledge-based workforce.

-- David Oberdick
Meyer, Unkovic & Scott,

Business Workshop is a weekly feature from local experts offering tidbits on matters affecting business. To contribute, contact Business Editor Brian Hyslop .


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