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These patent plaintiffs may have rough seas ahead.

It seems there has been a lot of interest in Chief Judge Connolly's evidentiary hearings about compliance with his standing orders regarding disclosure of litigation funding and entity ownership, which are now scheduled in over 20 cases.

I've had a few questions about when the hearings are going forward, so here is an update.

Here Is When the Hearings Are Scheduled

Here is when the hearings are set for, at least as of today:

  • Friday, November 4, 2022, at 10 am in Courtroom 4B: Cases involving Mellaconic IP, Lamplight Licensing LLC, and Nimitz Technologies LLC are set for hearings regarding compliance with the Court's third-party litigation funding order. See C.A. Nos. 22-244, 22-541, 22-418, 22-1017, 21-1247, 21-1362, 21-1855, and 22-413. Note, however—in four of those cases, local counsel has filed letters indicating that persons directed to appear in-person have medical issues and will not be able to attend. See below.
  • Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 10am in Courtroom 4B: Two Backertop cases are scheduled for hearings regarding compliance with the Court's third-party litigation funding order. See C.A. Nos. 22-572 and 22-573.
  • Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 10am in Courtroom 4B: Six cases by Missed Call LLC and Safe IP LLC are set for hearings on their corporate disclosure statements. However, the Court later noted in an October 17 order that the plaintiffs had violated the Court's litigation funding order, so I expect the hearing may cover both. See C.A. Nos. 22-739, 22-740, 22-742, 22-918, 22-919, and 22-920.
  • Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 1pm in Courtroom 4B: Finally, the Court will hear evidence regarding both third-party litigation funding and corporate disclosure statements from five cases involving plaintiffs Creekview IP LLC, Swirlate IP LLC, and Waverly Licensing LLP. See C.A. Nos. 22-426, 22-427, 22-235, 22-249, and 22-422.

Medical Issues May Prevent Parts of This Friday's Hearing

In the two Mellaconic IP cases set for a hearing on Friday, local counsel filed a letter stating that plaintiff's counsel, who the Court specifically ordered to attend in person, is unable to attend because he caught COVID-19 on October 30, 2022.

The same local counsel filed a letter in the two Lamplight Licensing cases, also scheduled for Friday, stating that an unspecified medical issue will prevent another the owner of the plaintiff entity from attending:

An in-person Evidentiary Hearing for the above cases is scheduled for this Friday, November 4, 2022, which was moved from November 10, 2022 expressly to accommodate Sally Pugal, the owner of Lamplight. On October 21, 2022, I was first advised by Ms. Pugal’s representative that she has a health-related issue which now may prevent her from attending the hearing with the Court here in Delaware. I do not have more detailed information about the nature of her medical issue. Every day since October 24, including over the weekends, I have attempted to contact Ms. Pugal multiple times by e-mail and telephone without success.
Although Ms. Pugal’s flight reservation and hotel accommodations remain in place, as of this moment, I am not certain whether Ms. Pugal actually will travel to Delaware or appear for the hearing. In all prior communications that my staff and I had with Ms. Pugal she made every indication that she would travel to Delaware and would appear before the Court on November 4, 2022.

See C.A. No. 22-1017, D.I. 14. Honestly, that was kind of painful to read and must have been painful for Delaware counsel to have to write.

The hearing on Friday may be rescheduled as to the cases where the parties have availability issues. We'll have to see. But I would expect the hearing to likely go forward regardless, because it also involves four Nimitz Technologies LLC cases where the parties have not raised availability issues.

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