A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware

Entries for tag: covid-19

CDC / Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Chief Judge Stark spoke at a virtual FBA event in Delaware today, and gave an update on the Court's COVID-19 plans going forward. Here are the main points:

  • The Court intends to remain in Phase 2 of its reopening plan, which is the phase it has been in since September. The Court will keep trying to hold jury trials as scheduled trials come up.
  • No jury trials are scheduled for the remainder of December, but he understands that there are still trials set for January. Chief Judge Stark mentioned that he did not know the exact status of those cases. (Note that at least one judge has doubted that …

In light of the ongoing delays in restarting patent jury trials, and the rising COVID-19 numbers nationwide, it's no surprise to see Judge Andrews recognize that parties may be better served by having a bench trial in the near future rather than waiting an indeterminate time for a jury to be available:

ORAL ORDER: The court doubts that a jury trial will be feasible on Feb. 1. On the other hand, a bench trial would be very feasible. The parties are requested to discuss with each other whether they would mutually agree to a bench trial on Feb. 1, and, if they both do agree, report that fact to the court by no later than Dec. 9. If one …

Phone Booth
Phone booth in London city centre, Katarzyna Pracuch, Unsplash

Sometimes it's better to be heard than seen. Although most of the D. Del. judges have been holding hearings by video since March, Judge Connolly has consistently held his hearings and conferences by telephone.

Yesterday, the parties in one of his cases filed a joint request to hold a Markman hearing by video instead of by phone. They explained their rationale (to "allow for more effective and efficient presentations" and help direct the court's "attention to exhibits and demonstratives"), and offered to handle all of the logistics.

The court was not interested. Judge Connolly issued a one-sentence oral order the same day, saying only that "the Markman hearing will be held by telephone."

What's the takeaway? It's been almost nine months since the court issued its first COVID-related standing order, and the judges have had plenty of time to hone their procedures. It might not hurt to ask, but don't expect them to change what's been working.

Local business closed during the coronavirus covid-19 quarantine, Anastasiia Chepinska, Unsplash

Like the rest of the nation, Delaware is presently descending into an apocalyptic vortex of pestilence and despair. As we've chronicled in numerous posts, this is having no small effect on the business of conducting trials. Thankfully, however, a few orders out this week suggest that there's still some hope that trials scheduled in the very near time might yet go forward.

The first of these was in Guardant Health, Inc. v. Foundation Medicine, Inc., C.A. No. 17-1616-LPS-CJB. This case had been set to be Judge Stark's first post-pandemic patent jury trial before being mysteriously continued earlier this month.

Today, however, the Court issued an …

According to the docket, USA v. Davis proceeded to jury selection on Monday, but the trial was then continued:

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Leonard P. Stark - Jury Selection as to Aaron Davis held on 11/16/2020 (Court Reporter B. Gaffigan.) (etg) (Entered: 11/17/2020)
ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Jury Trial is CONTINUED. The government shall file a joint status report due by 11/30/2020. A Telephone Conference is set for 12/1/2020 at 01:45 PM before Judge Leonard P. Stark. Time is excluded from 11/17/2020 until 12/1/2020. Signed by Judge Leonard P. Stark on 11/17/2020. (etg) (Entered: 11/17/2020)

The order states only that the trial was continued "for the reasons stated in court November 16, 2020," …

CDC / Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Just as the District of Delaware restarts its jury trials, the Delaware state courts announced today that they are reverting back to Phase 2 of their reopening plan, after just moving to Phase 3 on October 5.

Under Phase 2, there are no jury trials, but the court houses will stay open, and grand jury proceedings, bench trials, and hearings will continue.

I haven't heard of any COVID-19 outbreaks in the jury trials in Delaware state courts, but Law360 today reported that there was a COVID-19-positive juror in a trial in the Eastern District of Texas, and that seven people involved in the trial have have now tested positive. …

Billy, Unsplash

On Monday morning, Chief Judge Stark is scheduled to hold the second District of Delaware jury trial since all jury proceedings were put on hold for the pandemic. The case is USA v. Aaron Davis, C.A No. 19-101-LPS, a criminal fraud and money laundering action filed August 2019.

The Court issued an order Friday making clear that the jury trial will go forward as planned:

ORAL ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties shall be present in Courtroom 6B at 9:00 AM on Monday, November 16, 2020. Ordered by Judge Leonard P. Stark on 11/13/2020. (etg) (Entered: 11/13/2020)

The Court has not yet posted public access information.

UPDATE 11-16-2020: With nothing on the docket about …

As we've covered pretty exhaustively, its getting harder and harder to schedule a trial next year in the District of Delaware. In fact, given the huge number of delays and cancellations of trials that were previously scheduled for this year, most of 2021 is already double or triple-booked with trials.

So it's no surprise that parties that don't have firm dates already on the calendar for next year are eager to lock something—anything—down. That's what happened in Arendi S.A.R.L. v. LG Elecs., Inc., et. al., C.A. No. 12-1595 (LPS), last week. In that case—which is actually seven related cases—the scheduling order (as modified by recent COVID-related stipulation) set a deadline for dispositive motions that had briefing set to conclude next …

COVID-19, CDC/Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin

Here's something you don't see every day.

After a discovery dispute about bringing a parties' European witnesses to the US for deposition during the pandemic, Judge Noreika ordered that depositions of a defendants' witnesses may initially take place by written questions under FRCP 31:

ORAL ORDER . . . IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that . . . Plaintiff may request a deposition of the witnesses pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 31. Any such deposition shall be subject to Local Rule 30.6, with the "commencement" of the written deposition being when Defendants' counsel receives the written questions and the "conclusion" of the deposition being when Defendants' counsel serves the response …

CDC / Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Last week I summarized upcoming District of Delaware jury trials.

With the COVID-19 numbers surging nation-wide, I wanted to keep an eye on these. All told, five of the six jury trials are still on. One trial was continued, and the parties in another filed a letter yesterday asking to delay the trial due to COVID-19 concerns.

Here are the updates:

  • November 3: Judge Noreika's remote bench trial was canceled after the parties settled.
  • November 16: Chief Judge Stark's criminal jury trial is still scheduled to go forward, although there is a status call set for 5pm tomorrow.
  • November 30: Chief Judge Stark continued the civil jury …