In succession to remarks he made this past Fall about the soaring costs of electronic discovery in IP cases and unveiling the Model Order Regarding E-Discovery in Patent Cases, Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader recently told the ABA Section of IP Law that both the bar and the bench together, must continue to rein in the high costs of e-discovery. Chief Judge Rader suggested that attorneys’ need to limit their e-discovery requests and courts should consider implementing rules to facilitate efficient and cost effective discovery, as many have begun to do. The text of Chief Judge Rader’s speech may be viewed here.
The Chief Judge noted that in other countries, discovery practice is much more restrictive than in the U.S., making patent litigations, among other cases, easier and quicker to handle. In recent years, there has been significant movement in the U.S. to curtail e-discovery. For example, the Districts of Delaware, Kansas and Maryland all have adopted some form of default standards for e-discovery. The Seventh Circuit is in the second phase of its electronic discovery pilot program, and the U.S. International Trade Commission is considering implementing its own rules.
Most recently, in early March, the Eastern District of Texas proposed a Model Order that is based off of Chief Judge Rader’s Model Order, but differs in many ways. The Federal Circuit’s Model Order suggests that a requesting party be limited to e-mail discovery from five custodians with five search terms per custodian, while the Eastern District of Texas’ proposal calls for limits of eight custodians and 10 search terms. Additionally, the Eastern District of Texas’ proposal provides for limited written discovery and a deposition before the service of e-mail production requests.
Although the Eastern District of Texas’ proposed e-discovery order differs from the Federal Circuit’s Model Order, it reflects the intentions Chief Judge Rader had when he introduced the Model Order. Among the Chief Judge Rader’s other comments on the topic, he noted that some type of limitation on e-discovery is called for, regardless of the method and how closely it follows the Federal Circuit’s actual model.
Gibbons will continue to monitor e-discovery developments, and their impact on our clients.