Electronic discovery is becoming increasingly burdensome in litigation. It is not unusual for e-discovery costs to run into the millions of dollars in large, complex cases. Moreover, many electronically stored communications and documents produced through e-discovery are merely tangential to the issues at the heart of the litigation and add little value to the advancement of a case — especially in patent suits, where the issues tend to be narrow and focused. However, these non-essential documents continue to be collected, processed, reviewed and produced in order to comply with the broad relevance standards of the federal rules, which make no distinction between e-discovery and other, less burdensome forms of document discovery. The burden is, of course, particularly acute for large businesses with world-wide operations and millions of documents stored in electronic form.
Many district courts have recognized the disproportionate costs associated with patent litigation and have attempted to reign in e-discovery. The Eastern District of Texas, Northern District of California, and the District of Delaware are good examples of courts that have attempted to level the e-discovery playing field for all litigants.