At some point, one of the parties is likely to file a motion. A motion is merely a request for a judge to exercise his or her power in some manner to resolve one or more issues in the case. The issues may be procedural, substantive or a combination of both. Common motions include:
  • Motion for preliminary injunction
  • Motion for summary judgment
  • Motion for bifurcation
  • Motion in limine
A motion for a preliminary injunction is a request for the court to issue an order preventing the defendant from engaging in the allegedly infringing activity at some point before the court makes a final determination regarding infringement, invalidity and the other issues in the case. As suggested by the name of the motion, a motion for a preliminary injunction is often filed early in the case.

If a patent owner obtains a preliminary injunction, the patent owner will typically be required to post a bond to cover the accused infringer’s potential losses in the event that the patent owner is found not liable for infringement at trial.

A motion for summary judgment is a request for a resolution of one or more issues in dispute without trial. The issue may result in a resolution of a relatively minor facet of this case or may result in a complete resolution of the case when there are no material facts in dispute.

A motion for bifurcation is a request to hold separate trials to resolve separate issues within the case. Patent cases are commonly bifurcated into separate trials concerning infringement and damages. The theory being that it may not be necessary to resolve the issue of damages if there is no infringement. Courts may also bifurcate the issues of validity and infringement.

A motion in limine is merely a request to exclude certain evidence from being presented at trial. Attorneys often bring multiple motions in limine prior to the start of the trial, so that they can determine how a judge is likely to resolve certain evidentiary issues and can plan accordingly.

The above list of motions is by no means exhaustive. Many other motions requesting such remedies as transfer, stays and the compelled production of discovery may be brought by the parties.