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3 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. [1] (2003)

handle is hein.journals/dltr3 and id is 1 raw text is: 






    SHOULD JURIES HEAR COMPLEX PATENT
                             CASES?

                         JENNIFER F. MILLER'

                             ABSTRACT
        A debate has  arisen within the legal community over the
    existence and  constitutionality of a  so-called complexity
    exception to the Seventh Amendment. This exception would give a
    judge the discretion to deny a jury trial in a civil case if he or she
    feels that the issue is too complex for a jury to decide properly.
    This iBrief discusses the constitutionality of the complexity
    exception and the arguments for and against its implementation,
    with particular emphasis on the application of the exception to
    patent infringement cases. The iBrief then postulates that, while a
    blanket exception for patent infringement cases may not be the
    solution, at a minimum some  restructuring of the adjudication
    process needs to occur in order to ensure that judicial holdings are
    more than a mere roll of the dice.

                          INTRODUCTION
¶I      With the rise in both the complexity and the importance of patent
infringement cases, as well as the need for consistency in the field of patent
law, many  legal scholars and practitioners have begun to speculate as to
whether juries are competent to hear patent infringement cases. Some
commentators   argue that a  complexity exception  to the Seventh
Amendment   right to a jury trial should be invoked, which would give
judges discretion to withhold cases from a jury where the complexity ofthe
facts or the underlying legal issues make it impossible for a jury to render a
fair and rational verdict. The constitutional support for the complexity
exception is grounded in Seventh Amendment  jurisprudence and on the
Fifth Amendment right of due process. This iBrief discusses the
constitutionality of the complexity exception, as well as the advantages
and disadvantages of invoking such an exception. It then concludes that,
while a blanket exception for patent infringement cases may not be the
solution, some restructuring of the adjudication process needs to occur in
order to ensure that the judicial holdings are not random or baseless.



1 Jennifer Miller is a third-year student at Duke University School of Law. Mrs.
Miller attended the University of Florida where she obtained her Bachelor's of
Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

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