Patent Pilot Program Becomes Active January 1, 2012

Learn About Upcoming Patent Pilot Program Training Sessions

Chief Judge James Ware is pleased to announce that on November 10, 2011, the District and Magistrate Judges of the Northern District of California adopted General Order 67, promulgating new procedures for the assignment of patent cases. In order to allow necessary changes to be made to the District’s computer-based case assignment system, the new procedures will become effective on January 1, 2012.

Earlier in 2011, the Northern District successfully applied to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts for designation as a participating district in the Patent Pilot Program, under Pub. L. No. 111-349, 124 Stat. 367. Chief Judge Ware appointed a committee chaired by District Judge Lucy Koh to study and propose a procedure for implementing the pilot program. General Order 67 adopts the recommendation of Judge Koh’s committee.

District Judges participating in the program are: Chief District Judge James Ware, Senior District Judge Ronald Whyte, District Judge Jeffrey S. White, District Judge Lucy Koh and District Judge Edward Davila. 

Although the implementing patent pilot statute refers to District Judges as pilot judges, the Northern District has taken the position that the patent pilot statute does not supersede statutes that allow Magistrate Judges to handle any case pursuant to consent by the parties. Therefore, as the following Magistrate Judges have a particular interest in presiding over patent cases and subject to consent of the parties, the Court will strive to increase the number of patent cases assigned to these judges:  Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte, Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero, Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler, Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu, Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal, Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley and Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins.

Several CLE programs will be offered to members of the bar addressing the practical aspects of the program. Below are the programs currently scheduled.

This notice will be updated with new offerings as they are planned:

1)  The Federal Circuit Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association and Stanford Law School will be offering panels and a reception devoted to the program on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 from 2:00-6:30 pm with a keynote address by Chief Judge Randall R. Rader of the Federal Circuit and many of the Northern District's participating judges appearing as panelists. View details about this program.

2) The Northern District of California Practice Program will offer a Patent Law Panel on Thursday, March 1, 2012. The program will be held in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the San Francisco Courthouse from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. followed by a reception from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. The moderator will be Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal and the panelists will be District Judge William Alsup, Renee Brown of Tessera Technologies, Inc, Spencer Hosie of Hosie Rice LLP, District Judge Lucy Koh, Matthew Powers of Tensegrity Law Group LLP and Mark Lemley of Stanford Law School and Durie Tangri. Registration will be available at:

More information is available from the Clerk's Office at: (415)522-4051.