In 2011, Congress launched the patent pilot program to streamline patent litigation. Out of all the federal district courts in the United States, fourteen (14) federal district courts were nominated to participate in a 10-year pilot project calculated to augment expertise in patent cases among United States District Court judges. The pilot program was mandated by Pub. L. No. 111-349 effectuated in July, 2011.
To be eligible to participate, courts had to be among the 14 district courts in which the largest number of patent and plant variety protections cases were filed in 2010. Alternatively, it could be one of the district courts that adopted or certified to the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) with the purpose to espouse local rules for patent and plant variety protection cases.
The Southern District of Florida was one of the fourteen (14) district courts selected. Soon thereafter, the Patent Pilot Program was administratively entered on June 20, 2011 by then-Chief Judge Federico A. Moreno for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Judge Middlebrooks, Judge Patricia A. Seitz, and Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida were elected to participate in the Pilot program. Since it began in 2011, 259 of the 399 patent cases filed in the Southern District were assigned or reassigned to them.
Recently, the Southern District of Florida decided to terminate the program. In an administrative order 2014-58, the Court stated as follows:
“After three (3) years of experience with this pilot program and after conferring with the Judges of this District, the Court has determined that the administration of justice would best be served in this District by terminating the pilot project and allowing patent cases in the future to remain assigned at random to the Judges to whom they are initially assigned.”