Chief Judge Randall Rader, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, recently unveiled a new Model Order proposing changes to discovery processes that could reduce the time to resolution within patent litigation.
In his proposal Rader targeted what he views as excessively costly and time-consuming discovery processes within the context of patent cases. If adopted, Rader's framework could place limitations on the number of email productions that can be requested and narrow the timeframe for when these queries can be made. The judge is also hoping to inspire more responsible use of legal tactics with a series of economic stipulations.
Rader proposed that legal costs be shifted to the requesting party in the case of "disproportionate production requests," and the use of stalling tactics during the trial phase may be factored in to the cost-shifting decision.
According to Gibson Dunn's 2011 Mid-Year eDiscovery Update, the number of eDiscovery decisions made in federal courts within the first six months of the year rose 82 percent over 2010's figures. However, reforms put forth by Rader and others may be enough to give legal teams pause as they reconsider the implications of costly, prolonged patent litigation.