SHARE

July 28, 2022

New WDTX Order Shakes Up Initial Judge Assignments

You've Reached Your
Free Article Limit This Month
Register for free to get unlimited access to all Law.com OnPractice content.
Register Now

A recent order from Chief Judge Garcia of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas (WDTX) changes how judges are initially assigned to cases filed in its Waco Division. As of July 25, 2022, patent cases filed in the Waco Division shall be randomly assigned to one of 12 judges. The list includes at least one judge from each of the district's seven divisions. The order states that the new practice is due to "consideration of the volume of new patent cases assigned to the Waco Division, and in an effort to equitably distribute those cases."

It's no secret that the Waco Division has been a magnet for patent lawsuits in the last four years. The only judge in Waco—Judge Alan D. Albright—has presided over more than 2,500 patent cases since September 2018. Those 2,500 patent cases account for about 17% of all patent cases filed nationally in district courts in that timeframe. Plaintiffs' preference to file in Waco is due in part to Judge Albright's knowledge of patent cases, his interest in patent cases and his promulgation of local patent rules aiming for a predictable and quick path to trial.

Although Waco cases may now initially be assigned to other judges, whether they choose to keep the assignments remains to be seen. The recent order contains a footnote stating that its previous order for assigning judges "remains in full force and effect." That previous order allows judges to reassign any case "by mutual consent." (See Item XVIII(a).) Thus, judges may self-select out of these cases. A large criminal docket is one example of why a judge might self-select out of a patent case.

Even if another judge is assigned and decides to keep a Waco patent case, it remains to be seen whether they will adopt Judge Albright's local patent rules. Judge Albright has put extensive efforts into the local rules, including procedures related to discovery disputes, pre-Markman discovery, Markman hearings, infringement and invalidity contentions, US Patent & Trademark Office inter partes review effects and more. His cases have averaged about eight months to a Markman hearing and about 24 months to trial. Other judges may decide to make use of that framework to save time and effort or to avoid inconsistencies within the division.

Stay tuned for updates as this new assignment practice unfolds and more patent cases are assigned.

ALM expressly disclaims any express or implied warranty regarding the OnPractice Content, including any implied warranty that the OnPractice Content is accurate, has been corrected or is otherwise free from errors.

More From McDermott Will & Emery

Insights and Challenges for the Executive Compensation Committee

By Michael W. Peregrine McDermott Will & Emery November 30 , 2022

The board’s executive compensation committee is the focus point for many of the extraordinary financial, economic and operating challenges currently facing healthcare organizations.

Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Whirlpool

By Andrew R. Roberson McDermott Will & Emery November 21 , 2022

On November 21, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari in Whirlpool Financial Corp., et al., Petitioners v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 22-9.

Antitrust M&A Snapshot | Q3 2022

By Marisa E. Poncia McDermott Will & Emery November 17 , 2022

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lost four merger challenges (Illumina/GRAIL, UnitedHealth/Change Healthcare, U.S. Sugar/Imperial Sugar and Booz Allen/EverWatch) in September.

More From Trade Secrets

Not So Clean: Federal Circuit Upholds Trade Dress Preliminary Injunction, Finds Defenses Improperly Plead

By Kat Lynch McDermott Will & Emery November 17 , 2022

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a “narrow” preliminary injunction in a trade dress case, finding that the opponent of a registered configuration mark failed to prove its lack of secondary meaning and functionality defenses.

After Supreme Court Remand, Copyright Infringement Claims Upheld in View of Registrant's Unknown Inaccuracies

By Sarah Bro McDermott Will & Emery November 17 , 2022

In February 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P., that lack of either factual or legal knowledge on the part of a copyright holder can excuse an inaccuracy in the holder’s registration under the Copyright Act’s safe-harbor provision, 17 U.S.C. §411(b)(1), which governs the effect of inaccurate information in a copyright application.

Message to Judge Albright: Venue Motions Are First Order of Business

By Jodi Benassi McDermott Will & Emery November 17 , 2022

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated a scheduling order from the US District Court for the Western District of Texas and directed the court to postpone fact discovery and other substantive proceedings until it considered a motion for transfer.

Featured Stories
Closeclose
Search
Menu

Working...