E-Discovery Model Order Now Available for Patent Cases

Please Note:  Since the date of the original post, the Model Order has been removed from the Federal Circuit’s website.  The following statement now appears on the web page of the Advisory Council for the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit:

The Advisory Council published model orders concerning e-discovery and limitations on claims and prior art, and posted a disclaimer that the Court did not approve the model orders.  To avoid the risk of any misperception that the Court has endorsed or taken any position on the model orders through the Advisory Council, or otherwise, the Advisory Council confirms that it does not sponsor or endorse orders.

The above statement also provides a link to further explanation, which states in full:

Model orders concerning e-discovery and limitations on claims and prior art were posted on the court’s website.  Those orders have now been removed since the court has not sponsored or endorsed the orders.  In light of the court’s determination, the advisory council should not be viewed as having sponsored or endorsed these orders on behalf of the court.

A link to the Advisory Council’s web page containing the above statements is available, here.


During his speech at the E.D. Texas Judicial Conference on Tuesday, Chief Judge Randall R. Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit introduced the new Model Order Regarding E-Discovery in Patent Cases.  Per Chief Judge Rader, the goal of the model order is to “streamline e-discovery, particularly email production, and require litigants to focus on the proper purpose of discovery—the gathering of material information—rather than on unlimited fishing expeditions.”

The model order, which contains 14 specific provisions, addresses a myriad of topics including cost shifting, metadata, and the treatment of privileged information (e.g., inadvertent production does not result in waiver).  As indicated, however, the majority of the provisions address the discovery of email.  For example, the model order provides that “[g]eneral ESI production requests under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 34 and 45 shall not include email or other forms of electronic correspondence (collectively ‘email’)” and that “[t]o obtain email, parties must propound specific email production requests.”  Moreover, those requests “shall only be propounded for specific issues, rather than general discovery of a product or business.”  The model order further provides that email production “shall be phased to occur after the parties have exchanged initial disclosures and basic documentation about the patents, the prior art, the accused instrumentalities, and the relevant finances.”  Also within the model order is a limitation on the number of custodians per producing party from which email may be requested (5) and on the number of search terms “per custodian per party” (5), although the parties may jointly agree to modify those limits.

A copy of Chief Judge Rader’s comments at the Judicial Conference is available here.

A full copy of the [Model] Order Regarding E-Discovery in Patent Cases is available here.

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