Friday, May 18, 2007

Judge Whyte Interview

Compliments of Google Alerts I received notification of an interview of Judge Ronald M. Whyte on March 16, 2007 by Tech LawForum editor Mark Smith.

Link to interview at Tech LawForum here.

Audio and transcript available on site. Listening to the audio, Judge Whyte comes across as more tentative than his court voice. The following topics include:

Common Lawyer Mistakes
Judge Whyte’s Pet Peeves
Changes Over The Past Few Years
Where Patent Law Should Be Headed
Discovery Disputes
Advice for New Attorneys
Juror Questions
Representative Claims
The Federal Judiciary and Congress

As follows is Changes Over The Past Few Years:

Changes Over The Past Few Years (Emphasis mine)
MARK SMITH: So, back in 1992 you were appointed to this court by George Bush, Sr. I was wondering what kinds of things have you seen change since that time?

JUDGE WHYTE: With respect to patent cases I think the one positive change has been that -- at least the initial case management conferences have become far less contentious. We came up with some rules in the Northern District as to how patent cases should be structured for the pre-trial preparation phases. I think that's helped to give guidance to the attorneys and to give the judges. So I think that's improved significantly. I think the things that are kind of discouraging is that -- are that litigation has just become so expensive, that you really have to have good funding to basically try any kind of case, and I think that's unfortunate and perhaps prevents access to the courts by some litigants. I think it's been the cause, to some extent, of the growth of the (inaudible) judge or alternative dispute resolution programs, some of which are good and some of which I'm not hearing are so good. And I think it's resulted in fewer cases being tried, which, again, has its positive and negative effects. It's certainly better, generally, if you can settle your dispute because you can work out your own deal or arrangement, whereby if the court or a jury makes a decision they're limited on what flexibility they have. On the other hand I tend to think some cases get settled for the wrong reasons, perhaps the inability to afford going to trial, which is unfortunate.

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