A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: Congestion

Masks
Isaac Quesada, Unsplash

February Jury Trials

After completing all planned December jury trials uninterrupted by COVID-19, the January docket became lighter after the Court continued several trial dates to later this year due to COVID-19 concerns. One of these continued trials, a patent case, was rescheduled to February; the Court also has three other jury trials on the calendar for next month.

In December, the Court reauthorized the use of video and telephone conferencing pursuant to the CARES Act. Relatedly, Governor Carney reinstituted a mask mandate, requiring individuals in Delaware to wear masks while in public spaces, with select exceptions.

Review of December Jury Trials

In our November update, we identified five upcoming December jury trials. Three proceeded as …

Visualization of the average D. Del. judge's <a href='#' class='abbreviation' data-bs-toggle='tooltip' data-placement='top' title='Summary Judgment'>SJ</a> motion pile (circa 2021, pre-Judge Stark departure)
Visualization of the average D. Del. judge's SJ motion pile (circa 2021, pre-Judge Stark departure) Christa Dodoo, Unsplash

Last month Judge Noreika issued an order praising Chief Judge Connolly's ranking-based summary judgment procedure, and imposing a similar procedure—at least for one case.

Under his SJ procedures, Chief Judge Connolly addresses each party's motions in their ranked order, and if a single motion is denied, he may decline to consider all remaining motions.

Judge Noreika issued her order after the parties in the case, Dali Wireless, Inc. v. Commscope Techs. LLC, C.A. No. 19-952-MN (D. Del.), sought …

Pipeline
Mike Benna, Unsplash

Judge Andrews resolved a request for a permanent injunction in a patent case today, in a way I haven't seen before.

In Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals L.P. v. Powder Springs Logistics, LLC, C.A. No. 17-1390-RGA (D. Del.), the plaintiff won an infringement jury verdict in a trial last month.

The patents involve mixing gasoline with butane automatically, rather than through a process that involves manual intervention. The accused infringement involves the mixing of gasoline and butane on a pipeline.

Plaintiff immediately moved for a permanent injunction, and sought a hearing on the injunction on December 22 or 23, just before the holidays. The patent relevant to the permanent injunction expires in April …

Tennessee
Tennessee Mike Lento, Unsplash

Today Judge Andrews reassigned a case to what appears to be a new visiting judge for the District of Delaware, Senior District Judge Jon Phipps McCalla of the Western District of Tennessee:

Case Reassigned to Judge Jon P McCalla of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Please include the initials of the Judge (JPM) after the case number on all documents filed. (rjb) (Entered: 01/03/2022)

Emerson Process Management Regulator Technologies, Inc. v. Pietro Fiorentini (USA), Inc., C.A. No. 21-1488-JPM (D. Del.).

To my knowledge, this is the first referral of a Distrct of Delaware patent case to Judge McCalla, and he is not yet on the …

Consent
Pawel Czerwinski, Unsplash

Two weeks ago, we wrote about a new set of referral orders in five Chief Judge Connolly cases. These orders offer the parties the choice to either consent to referral to Magistrate Judge Hall, or have their case referred to a visiting judge.

At this point, all parties have responded, and three out of five sets of parties consented to jurisdiction before Magistrate Judge Hall rather than having the case referred to a visiting judge. Seems like a good result! It will be interesting to see whether the Court continues to use these orders going forward.

I didn't see any obvious patterns among the cases that did or did not consent, although five cases is too small …

I wonder when slides like these were last used in district court?
I wonder when slides like these were last used in district court? Jo Gala, Unsplash

Last week, in First Quality Tissue, LLC v. Irving Consumer Products Limited, C.A. No. 19-428-RGA (D. Del.), Judge Andrews issued the following order, apparently sua sponte:

ORAL ORDER: In connection with the argument currently scheduled for January 19, 2022 [regarding pending Daubert and summary judgment motions], the parties shall submit non-argumentative letters by January 4, 2022, specifying, in order of importance to the party, the issues they want to argue, with citations to where the relevant briefing can be found. The parties should not specify more than three issues each. At the argument, the total page limit for each sides …

Yesterday, Chief Judge Connolly issued nearly identical oral orders across five cases, instituting a new procedure for referral of the case to a magistrate judge:

ORAL ORDER: On or before December 22, 2021, the parties shall either (1) submit to the Clerk of Court an executed Form AO 85 Notice, Consent, and Reference of a Civil Action to a Magistrate Judge, indicating their consent to have a United States Magistrate Judge conduct all proceedings in this case including trial, the entry of final judgment, and post-trial proceedings; or (2) a joint letter indicating that both parties do not consent to a reference of this action to a Magistrate Judge. The letter should not indicate which party or parties did not …

As we've mentioned, Judge Stark has been nominated to the Federal Circuit. He had his nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. The full video is available on the Judiciary Committee web site: Link to Video.

In the video, Judge Stark's introduction by Delaware Senators Carper and Coons starts at 49:27, and Judge Stark himself appears at 1:04:42. The introductions are about 7 minutes long, and the questions run for about 30 minutes.

Some highlights about Judge Stark, mostly from the introductions:

  • 14 years on the bench
  • 6000 civil and criminal cases
  • 2400 patent cases
  • 93 trials (63 patent trials)
  • 2100 written opinions
  • Only 2% of his opinions reversed or affirmed with criticism

As …

Wilmington, <a href='#' class='abbreviation' data-bs-toggle='tooltip' data-placement='top' title='Delaware'>DE</a>
Wilmington, DE Andrew Russell, CC BY 2.0

Big news! The White House announced today that Judge Leonard P. Stark of the District of Delaware is set to be nominated to the Federal Circuit.

Assuming he is confirmed, Judge Stark will actually be the second judge to be elevated to an appellate court from the District of Delaware in recent memory, following The Honorable Kent A. Jordan's elevation to the Third Circuit in 2006.

Congratulations to Judge Stark!

Another Judicial Vacancy? No problem.

Despite its enormous patent case load, the District of Delaware remains a small court, with just four district court judges (although the Judicial Conference …

Traffic Congestion
Randy Lisciarelli, Unsplash

It's not all that common for judges in the District of Delaware to deny requests to reschedule hearings. But last week we saw two requests denied. And, in both instances, the Court suggested that the party requesting cancellation should just have another attorney prepare for argument rather than rescheduling.

In one instance, Judge Andrews denied a request to reschedule a Markman hearing, stating that:

ORAL ORDER: The request to change the date of the Markman . . . is DENIED. Plaintiff has at least three non-Delaware lawyers. Simply because one of them has a trial scheduled on December 9th is not a reason to change the date of the Markman. There is plenty of time …