An International Guide to
Patent Case Management for Judges

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8.6.5 Preparatory hearings

A preparatory hearing is an opportunity to sort out the arguments and evidence of the parties to enable an effective and focused trial.116 In most cases, issues are trimmed via the exchange of briefs, and the process advances straight to trial. Preparatory hearings are held only in exceptional cases, where arguments and evidence need to be sorted out in advance. In civil patent lawsuits, a preparatory hearing will be scheduled only in complex cases to coordinate case management and primarily in the form of a video conference. The following matters are often discussed at a preparatory hearing:

  • trial date and time, as well as the issues to be addressed in the trial;
  • deadlines to state contentions and submit evidence (including deadlines for the submission of comprehensive briefs and expert witness affidavits, the maximum number of submissions and the length of briefs);
  • whether to use an evidence production method that requires a substantial amount of time, such as inspection, appraisal and expert witnesses, and the deadlines for such methods;
  • whether to designate a technical advisor;
  • whether to hold a technology review session by the parties;
  • whether to hold separate hearings by legal issue, such as infringement, invalidity, assessment of damages and so on;
  • how to proceed litigation procedures if a related case is pending before the IPTAB; and
  • whether to refer the case to a mediation procedure.