A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware

In D. Del., stipulated extensions of the schedule are routine and are normally granted, with occasional exceptions. Usually, when the Court grants them, it results in an unremarkable order like this:

Order re Stipulated Extension

There's really nothing there. Occasionally, though, it results in an order like the below. Can you spot the difference?

Order re Stipulated Extension with Attachment

Can you see it? It's tiny. The only difference is that the docket number ("52") is a link. I don't blame you if you missed it.

Usually, clicking on that link, you'll find a plain-Jane stamped or signed version of the stip as filed. Nothing remarkable or meaningful at all. It feels wrong to bill .1 hours to a client to click on the stip and look at the signed version.

BUT! Every once in a while, there can be something important in that signed stip! Sometimes—very rarely—the Court will change the dates or leave a note for the parties.

In the above example, from Galderma Laboratories, L.P. v. Apotex Inc., C.A. No. 22-724-SB, D.I. 52 (D. Del. Sept. 1, 2023), the Court included a note just above the signature:

Unhighlighted Signature on Stipulation with Note

Did you see it? No? I highlighted it below because, seriously, it's easy to tune it out:

Stipulation Signature Block with Note

The parties in that case may have missed this too. A bit over a month later, they filed another, similar stip, extending nine more deadlines with no explanation or justification:

Stipulation Extending Dates

True to its word, the Court denied the stipulation:

ORAL ORDER: I DENY the parties' stipulation to modify schedule (D.I. 60 ). As I said previously, I will not look kindly on further requests for extensions and require good cause to justify any such requests. I see no good cause here. Ordered by Judge Stephanos Bibas on 11/1/2023. (smg) (Entered: 11/01/2023)

Galderma Laboratories, L.P. v. Apotex Inc., C.A. No. 22-724-SB (D. Del. Nov. 1, 2023).

Emergency Warning Light
Norbert Braun, Unsplash

So, yeah. It looks like the parties will be proceeding on the current schedule, unless they try a new stipulation. I like to think that if I had read the Judge's guidance that it will not look kindly on a request for further extensions, I would have included a justification in any subsequent stip (or just not sought another stip).

In any case, I thought it was a good example of why you really have to pay attention to those tiny little links in docket entries and—even then—why someone on the team really needs to look and make sure that any granted stip matches what was filed! It's extremely easy to miss these things in a busy case where the parties are focused on discovery, motions, and other things.

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