Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Patent Plaintiffs: W.D. Wisconsin Welcomes You!

It wasn't long after Price Waterhouse Cooper released its patent litigation survey that the Wisconsin Technology Network published this article by Gina Carter, touting the virtues of the Western District of Wisconsin and its prowess with patent cases.

And why not? Between 2000 and 2004, 103 patent cases were filed in the jurisdiction. It seems that if your jurisdiction is doing something right, you might as well broadcast it to the public. According to the article, a number of things make Wisconsin attractive for every litigant's forum-shopping needs:

(1) Being a university community, as well as a hotbed of biotech start-up activity, savvy jurists will warm the courtroom benches during trial;

(2) "Brand-name" litigants, such as Apple, Google and Microsoft are known to favor the district for patent cases;

(3) Heavy courtroom whip-cracking keeps slovenliness severely in check. While this seems unbelievable, patent cases filed in Madison have an average resolution time of six months, four days.

There's also some insight on courtroom protocol: Judges John Shabaz and Barbara Crabb are known to start trial conferences as early as 6:30 a.m. in Shabaz's courtroom, and 7:30 a.m. in Crabb's. Mornings are long, with lunch breaks often postponed, some as late as 2:30 p.m. Needless to say, trial dates in the court are firm.

And to illustrate the "no-nonsense" qualities of the bench, the following anecdote is shared with the reader:

In one instance, a hearing continued while paramedics rushed to the courtroom to
attend to a defendant who was suffering a mini-stroke. The judge later explained
the proceedings continued because the conference was expected to last only 60 to
90 seconds, and the parties should not be “inconvenienced.”
While the jurisdiction has a pro-plaintiff record, there doesn't appear to be an open bias. The court has previously shown that it is willing to dismiss weaker cases early on, even if the plaintiff is home-grown. When HyperPhrase Technologies sued Google and Microsoft in separate suits, Judge Shabaz found in favor of Microsoft, and quickly dismissed the claims against Google, calling them "nonsense."

Read the article here.

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