An International Guide to
Patent Case Management for Judges

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1.3.1 Early case management

In some jurisdictions, litigation is primarily conducted through the exchange of written briefs, with directions on matters of procedure given through written communication, and case management hearings with the participation of parties held only in exceptional cases.30 In some jurisdictions, the court may issue a communication prior to oral proceedings, drawing attention to matters of particular significance, which may include a preliminary opinion on the decisive points in their communications.31

In other jurisdictions, there is a strong emphasis on early case management with active participation of parties, including through the holding of case management hearings.32 These hearings are intended for the court to identify and narrow down disputed issues of fact and law, to establish a timetable for the entire case (including party submissions and their maximum length, the discovery and production of evidence, or the production of a technical primer), and to consider alternative dispute resolution options. Through these hearings, the judge can gain an early understanding of the patents and claims, the technology involved, and potential defenses and counterclaims. The judge may also address issues such as the use of technical advisors, protective orders, and parallel proceedings.