The Judicial Conference of the US has approved the elimination of Rule 84, a court procedure designed to help small patent-holders streamline their lawsuits, but which has been weaponized by patent trolls, who use it to indiscriminately file lawsuits on a mass scale in the hopes of bullying quick settlements out of their victims.
Under Rule 84, parties could file patent suits without specifying how their patents had been violated. Now that it's gone, patent infringement claims will have to include specifics of the violation, something that's already a fixture in non-troll patent suits.
"After considering the public comments, the committee continues to believe that the forms and Rule 84 should be eliminated. The forms are not used, revising them is a difficult and time-consuming process, other forms are readily available and the committee can better use its time addressing more relevant issues in the rules," the Judicial Conference advisory committee said in a report.
Rule 84 includes three dozen forms illustrating the proper captions for pleadings, proper signature blocks and forms for summonses and complaints. It was adopted when the civil rules were established in 1938 to indicate the simplicity of statement which the rules contemplate. But, the committee said that many of the forms, including Form 18, are out of date. In fact, they pointed to the sample complaints, which embrace fewer causes of action than now exist in federal court and illustrate a simplicity of pleading that has not been used in years.
The Judicial Conference of the U.S. makes small rules change for patent infringement [Amanda Ciccatelli/Inside Counsel]