Indiana Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2010

Publication Citation

85 Indiana Law Journal 449 (2010)


Patent law is federal law, and the normative approach to patent reform has been top down, looking to Congress and the Supreme Court for changes to the broken and complex patent system. The normative approach thus far has not yielded satisfactory results. This Article challenges the static approach to patent reform and embraces the dynamic-federalism approach that patent reform can be an overlapping of both national and local efforts. Patent reform at the local level is essential as locales can serve as laboratories for changes, vertically compete with national government to reform certain areas of the patent system, and become influential catalysts for changes that have an impact at the national level. Because the Constitution expressly grants to Congress the power to regulate substantive patent law, the local patent-reform movement is limited to the development and utilization of local procedural rules to streamline patent litigation in federal district courts. This Article examines the success of the local patent-reform movement initiated by local judges and bar associations sweeping different regions of the United States and suggests that bottom-up reform must be encouraged to solve the national problem of the broken patent system.