On February 1, 2015, Judge George J. Hazel will be joining the United States District Court for the District of Maryland’s pilot program for patent cases. The purpose of the pilot program is to enhance expertise in patent cases among district judges, as well as to study the effect of using designated patent judges on patent case management. Judge Hazel joins Judge Marvin J. Garbis, Judge William D. Quarles Jr., and Judge Roger W. Titus as the judges of this Court who are participating in the pilot program.
On September 19, 2011, this Court joined the national ten-year pilot program for studying patent cases as established by Congress under Pub. L. No. 111-349, 124 Stat. 3,674. Under the program, patent cases filed in this Court are randomly assigned to a district judge, regardless of the judge’s participation in the pilot program. Within thirty days of the initial filing of the case, any non-participating district judge may request that the Clerk reassign the case to a pilot program judge. If the district judge requests reassignment, the Clerk will randomly reassign the case to a pilot program judge without regard to the divisional requirements of Local Rule 501. See Standing Order 2011-03 (D. Md. Sept. 7, 2011). Since the start of this Court’s involvement in the patent program, approximately 46% of all patent cases have been handled by a participating district judge.
Additionally, as part of its participation in the program, this Court adopted specialized local rules for patent cases. The District of Maryland is one of thirteen district courts in the nation that has its own patent rules and is participating in this pilot program.