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Magazine honors retired judge

By Special to the News-Journal
April 14, 2012 at 10 p.m.


Former U.S. District Judge T. John Ward, a shareholder in the business litigation and intellectual property law firm of Ward & Smith in Longview, was honored with a lifetime achievement award presented by the publishers of Managing IP during the magazine's fifth annual North America Awards.

Appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1999, Ward is widely credited for establishing the Eastern District of Texas' accelerated intellectual property docket, the magazine said. The success of the court rules implemented by Ward in 2001 to expedite patent-infringement litigation resulted in the adoption of similar rules in all Eastern District federal courts.

As a result, the district quickly became the most popular venue in the United States for patent cases.

During the North America Awards dinner, held March 29 in Washington, Ward's impact was summarized by Chief Judge Randall Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

In addition to describing him as "one of the greatest trial judges that ever graced the federal bench," Rader also noted that Ward probably tried more patent cases than any other federal judge.

Ward is credited with having presided over more than 150 jury trials and managing a trial docket that resulted in the closing of more than 3,000 cases during his 12-year tenure on the federal bench.

"I am humbled by this recognition," Ward said. "My primary concern each and every day I spent on the bench was to try to make sure the system worked in the way it was designed to work."

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