A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: Default Judgment

Pixelated Game Over screen on an oversized PAC-MAN arcade machine
Sigmund, Unsplash

Generally, corporations have to be represented to appear in Federal Court, or they are at risk of default. This is something that comes up surprisingly often, including when corporate defendants try to file their own filings without an attorney (by mailing them to the clerks' office), or when counsel for a corporate defendant seeks to withdraw mid-case.

Judge Fallon issued an opinion today showing the consequences of a corporation failing to retain counsel. Plaintiff brought suit and, requested entry of default after a corporate defendant failed to answer. That corporate defendant then filed an "answer"—which, based on the docket, was not an answer at all, in that it did not respond to plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff then moved …

Last month we wrote about Judge Andrews' order that a plaintiff who won a default judgment against Aston Martin, LLC must file any settlement agreements from seven other patent suits, in order to help the Court determine the proper damages award.

Plaintiff has now responded.

We wondered in our last post whether the Court would permit plaintiff to file under seal. The answer is yes: the Court found the following short paragraph from the briefing to be sufficient to permit filing the settlement agreements and settlement amounts under seal:

Good cause exists to seal these Settlement and License Agreements. The Agreements contain confidentiality clauses such that if the documents were not filed under seal, Plaintiff might be in breach …

Checkered Flag
Bas van den Eijkhof, Unsplash

Default judgments are uncommon in Delaware patent cases. In the rare instance where a defendant misses an answer deadline, the issue is typically resolved with minimal court intervention, either because the plaintiff agrees to an extension or the court sets aside the entry of default.

But in a recent case against Aston Martin, LLC (brought by Display Technologies, LLC), it appears that a default judgment might actually be moving forward. (Side note: it isn't clear to us whether the correct legal entity was sued or served, and we take no position on that front.)

The complaint was filed in February 2020, the summons was served in May, and the clerk entered a default in July. The plaintiff eventually moved for a default judgment in December, seeking an award of $75,000 to $1 million (based on damages estimates from a client affidavit).

On Monday, Judge Andrews recognized that it would "be necessary to have a hearing in order to determine the amount of damages[,]" but made clear that he wasn't going to take the plaintiff's word for the damages number ...