Since the Court suspended its mediation program, parties have noticed that the District of Delaware lacks an established pool of local mediators who are available to mediate patent cases.
As I mentioned a while back, I wanted to put together a list to help match attorneys and clients with mediators who have District of Delaware patent-case experience. I've now heard from multiple D. Del. mediators and attorneys about who people are using, and I put together this list.
Spoiler alert: It's a short list. My primary criteria were: local or nearby, active, and experienced in patent cases or patent case mediations. Even so, there are just not a ton of names, and people largely kept suggesting the same ones.
Local Former Judges
- Retired Chief Judge Gregory M. Sleet of the District of Delaware (JAMS)
- Retired Judge Andrea L. Rocanelli of the Delaware Superior Court (Delaware ADR)
I contacted several local attorneys who have served as mediators, but for now only one was available for patent cases:
- Neal C. Belgam (Smith Katzenstein Jenkins LLP)
Nearby Former Judges
- Retired Judge Faith S. Hochberg of the District of New Jersey (Hochberg ADR, LLC)
- The Delaware Chancery Court Mediation Program (guidelines here).
The Chancery Court rules state that the mediation program is available for mediations of “technology disputes” even if there is no pending chancery case. See Court of Chancery Rules 93-95; 10 Del. C. § 347 (“This section is intended to encourage the Court of Chancery to include complex corporate and commercial disputes, including technology disputes, within the ambit of the business dispute mediation rules.”); Donald J. Wolfe, Jr. & Michael A. Pittinger, Corporate and Commercial Practice in the Delaware Court of Chancery § 8.01[b] ("Sections 346 and 347 . . . enable parties . . . to stipulate or agree to have the Court of Chancery mediate certain business and technology disputes, even if there is not a prior pending action in the Court of Chancery."). Your mileage may vary.
There are two other former District of Delaware Chief Judges whose names often come up: Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. and Judge Sue L. Robinson, both of Farnan LLP. But I have heard that they are either not doing mediatons right now, or that they have very limited availability. If I hear otherwise, I'll move their names up to the list above.
I've heard that Delaware ADR, Judge Rocanelli's firm, is expanding soon. That may provide another good option. Beyond that, I may also compile a list of out-of-town or west-coast mediators that parties are using, if names start to come up more frequently.
If you have anyone to add, or if you are local to Delaware or nearby with experience as a mediator and would like to be on this list, please feel free to e-mail me!