Why Companies Outside the U.S. Should Consider The California Central District Court for their U.S. Intellectual Property Disputes: Part II, A Diverse Jury Pool

When an owner of intellectual property rights files suit against a product sold nationwide, they have wide latitude to pursue their case in most, if not all, of the 94 United States Federal Courts. Despite this fact, plaintiffs from around the world continue to flock to the CACD in droves. A recent study by Stanford Law Professor Mark A. Lemley found that CACD experienced the greatest number of litigated patent cases in the country from 2000 to 2010, at 2,289 cases. The continued popularity of the venue derives, in part, from the diversity of its jury pool.

Indeed, the CACD is the single largest federal judicial district by population in the country, serving some 25 million inhabitants. Without a doubt, juries selected from this vast population base are both culturally and experientially diverse.

It is a policy of the CACD that all litigants be entitled to trial by jury with the right to petit juries selected at random from a fair cross section of the community. Randomization is also ensured by selection from local lists of registered voters in those divisions. The result is a jury pool of socially concerned citizens as diverse as the California population.

In a study analyzing the performance of diverse juries, Adriana Gardella found that diverse juries raise a broader range of issues during deliberation and are more willing to discuss and debate complex issues in an adversarial forum. As a consequence, individuals serving on diverse juries are exposed to more information in their jury rooms and, on average, make more accurate decisions. Homogeneous groups tend to exhibit more of a pack mentality, and are prone to making difficult decisions on autopilot.

Thus, perhaps one of the reasons so many international plaintiffs pursue their case in the CACD is the perception that its diverse population base will produce juries well-equipped to arrive at accurate, balanced decisions.