The Central District of California Emerges as a Hot Spot for Patent Litigation

The United States District Court for the Central District of California (CACD) has emerged over the past decade as a major hot spot for patent litigation. In fact, a recent study by Stanford Law Professor Mark A. Lemley found that Central District of California experienced the greatest number of litigated patent cases in the country from 2000 to 2010, at 2,289 cases.

Several geographical and procedural advantages are thought to account for the rise in popularity of the Central District. For example, the jurisdiction boasts one of top ten patent plaintiff win rates in the country, at 36.3% . Id. at 9. Consent judgments would increase this percentage substantially but are not included in the tabulation.

This favorable rate can be attributed, in part, to the absence of patent local rules in the Central District. As in the Eastern District of California, the absence of these local rules means that patentees can start discovery early. Because discovery costs are often a major causative factor in defendant settlement, the lack of local rules is thought to tip the scales slightly in favor of plaintiffs.

The Central District also boasts one of the shortest average times to trial resolution in the country, at .89 years. Id at 15. This figure represents a ~40% increase in the rate of resolution over the Easter District of Texas (1.24 years) and the Northern District of California (1.28 years). Id at 16.

Finally, the growing popularity of the Central District derives, in part, from the initiation of the Patent Pilot Program in 2011. The program, established pursuant to Pub. L. No. 111-349, was designed to channel complex intellectual property cases to those district court judges with the most pertinent expertise. Without a doubt, inclusion of the Central District in the 10-year pilot program has served to further attract litigants desirous of expeditious and accurate outcomes.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent and should not be attributed to Cislo & Thomas LLP.