Northern District of California
Model Patent Jury Instructions, revised Nov. 3, 2011
Patent Local Rules, eff. Dec. 1, 2009
Snapshot of Northern District of California*
- Division courthouses in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose. Patent cases assigned on district-wide basis (not necessarily to the division with greatest connection to the action). Appeals to the Ninth Circuit.
- Second largest number of patent litigations in the country.
- First district to adopt local patent rules.
- 71% patent cases settled vs. 15% resolved on merits (remaining 14% are consent judgments or procedure-based resolutions).
- Outcome on the merits generally: 26% for the patent owner vs. 74% accused infringer.
- Outcome on the merits at trial: 52% for patent owner vs. 48% for accused infringer.
- Outcome on the merits at summary judgment: 11% for patent owner vs. 89% for accused infringer.
- Time to resolution for patent cases: 1.32 yrs. (nationwide 1 yr).
- Percentage of patent cases that go to trial: 2.9 % (nationwide 2.8%).
- Time to patent trial: 3.02 yrs. (nationwide 2.54 yrs.).
- Grants motions to transfer at rate of 81%, up 20% since In re TS Tech USA Corp., 551 F.3d 1315, 1318 (Fed. Cir. 2008), in which the Federal Circuit reversed an Eastern District of Texas decision denying an accused infringer’s motion to transfer. The Federal Circuit found that the district court clearly abused its discretion in denying transfer where the key witnesses and documentary evidence were not in Texas.
- Motions to stay pending reexam generally granted where case is in early stages and motion is timely filed after PTO grants reexam.
- Following national trend of granting more motions for summary judgment based on obviousness following U. S. Supreme Court decision in KSR Intl. v. Teleflex, 550 U.S. 398 (2007).
- Reversals: more appeals were taken from Northern District claim construction rulings than any other district for the period 1996-2007. However, of these, 28.6% were reversed, vacated and/or remanded due to claim construction error which is one of the lowest reversal rates across the most active patent districts.
* Primary reference is Lex Machina 2010 database, with other supporting references: Mark A. Lemley, Where to File Your Patent Case, Stanford Public Law Working Paper No. 1597919 (2010) (Available at SSRN); David L. Schwartz, Practice Makes Perfect? An Empirical Study of Claim Construction Reversal Rates in Patent Cases, 107 Mich. L. Rev. 223, 246 (2008); and LegalMetric District Judge Report Northern District of California, April 2009.