10.6.1 Key features in patent proceedings
In 1996, the Supreme Court held that “the construction of a patent, including terms of art within its claim, is exclusively within the province of the court.”136 This decision ushered in a new patent case management era, elevating claim construction to a critical and central role in patent litigation. In the aftermath of this decision, Judge Ronald Whyte promulgated “patent local rules” (PLRs) in collaboration with patent litigators for the Northern District of California in 1998. These voluntary case management schedules structured discovery, specified deadlines for infringement and invalidity contentions, and prioritized claim construction. Many other district courts adopted these or similar patent case management rules, leading to more streamlined and consistent practices. The following sections explain these and other district court patent case management practices in nonpharmaceutical patent cases. Section 10.13.2 discusses patent case management in pharmaceutical patent cases.