The Federal Judicial Center Releases A Study of the Role and Impact of Special Masters in Patent Cases

    1 March 2009

    The Federal Judicial Center has just released a study, undertaken by two researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on the role and impact of special masters in patent cases. The analysis was based on 116 patent cases terminated in 2005 and 2006 that utilized special masters. Two of the report’s key conclusions were that: (1) special masters are most likely to be employed to oversee discovery or to conduct claim construction, and may preside over Markman hearings; and (2) the reports and recommendations produced by the special masters are nearly always adopted by the court, usually with no modification.