As a plaintiff in a patent infringement case discovery phase, what law and/or local rule could I use to ask a judge for a ruling in the case. The reason, is that the defendant has not responded (about a month now) to a fact discovery claim.
The case is in the Northern District of California-San Jose Division.
2 Answers from Attorneys
I take it you are a pro se plaintiff, and I'd further guess that the defendant is represented by counsel.
Since you are in Federal court, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply. The basic rule covering discovery in general is Rule 26, "General Provisions Governing Discovery; Duty of Disclosure" and the rule covering judicial enforcement of the discovery rules is Rule 37, "Failure to Make Disclosure or Cooperate in Discovery; Sanctions."
I would recommend that you become quite familiar with both rules, and perhaps any intervening rule between 26 and 37 that covers the discovery mode or modes that you are using, e.g., written questions (a/k/a interrogatories), covered in Rule 31. Also make sure you have complied with the initial disclosures requirement of FRCP 26(a)(1).
Finally, if you are unrepresented and the defendant is represented by counsel, maybe you should consider hiring an attorney. Intellectual-property cases can be very tough, even for experienced trial lawyers.
I would agree. If you are having problems with discovery, you will have even greater problems with pre-trial and trial work. I strongly recommend consulting with counsel on at least a limited representation basis for assistance in evaluating your strategy for the motion, helping you comply with the local rules, and otherwise preparing your case.
Competent counsel can add value to a case. I have seen far too many pro pers walk away from court empty handed, when an investment in a lawyer could have helped them properly evaluate their case and possibly reach a settlement or a judgment of some kind. The pro per's lack of experience and inability to objectively evaluate their case are true handicaps.