Like most everything, jury trials in U.S. District Courts across the country came to a screeching halt at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.Since August 2020, however, patent trials have slowly started to resume. There were eight patent jury trials between August and November 2020, and thirty-three more since January 2021, following a brief shutdown of the courts after a spike in Covid-19 cases in late 2020. All but one of these trials were in-person; however, many included special procedures to account of the safety of those involved.
Unsurprisingly, the hot spots for patent litigation have conducted the most-post pandemic patent jury trials, with the Eastern District of Texas topping the list followed by the Western District of Texas.Notably, the District of Delaware has held as many patent trials as the Eastern District of Texas since the start of the pandemic; however, all but four have been bench trials.The locations of the patent jury trials also reflect the timing in which Covid-19 restrictions were lifted by states. Texas, for instance, gradually lifted its restrictions through March 2, 2021, when the mask mandate was lifted and businesses returned to full capacity.In contrast, California did not fully reopen until June 2021.Unlike the district courts in Texas, the Central District of California, which comes in fourth behind the above-mentioned courts for patent lawsuit filings, has not held a patent trial, either a jury or bench, since pandemic shutdowns began.
Although the number of patent jury trials continues to steadily climb with wide-spread vaccine availability, the current Delta variant wave is likely to keep special procedures and other restrictions in place for upcoming patent jury trials. Against this backdrop, we have prepared a summary of the patent jury trials that have occurred since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting the special procedures, if any, put in place.
To view the full report, click here.
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