Wow! Today, in the Mavexar cases, Chief Judge Connolly issued a huge, 102-page opinion referring plaintiffs' counsel to the Texas Supreme Court's Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, the PTO, and the Department of Justice to determine whether counsel violated various rules—or federal laws:
As it appears that [three Mavexar employees] engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, I will refer them to the Texas Supreme Court's Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.
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I believe it appropriate to bring these matters to the attention of the PTO and the Department of Justice to allow them to conduct further inquiry into whether the PTO's rules or [18 U.S.C.] § 1001 were violated. The Department may also deem it appropriate to investigate whether the strategy employed by IP Edge to hide from the defendants in these cases and the Court real parties in interest, including France Brevets, violated any federal laws.
Nimitz Technologies LLC, v. CNET Media, Inc., C.A. No. 21-1247-CFC, D.I. 34 at 98, 100 (D. Del. Nov. 27, 2023).
If you're not familiar with them, Mavexar appears to be an entity that recruits people to serve as the sole members of shell LLCs that assert patents. The recruited individuals may not fully understand what is going on, and may get something like 5-10% of the proceeds of the patent infringement suits in exchange for accepting all of the risk. It looks like Mavexar sets up the entities, hires the attorneys, and does the work of selecting targets and even drafting claim charts.
The opinion goes through exactly what these entities and attorneys did—at least, as far as the Court can tell from the factual record and their production, which was apparently full of holes.
In short, the attorneys acted as if they were attorneys for Mavexar and IP edge rather than their nominal clients (the LLCs asserting the patents). They generally didn't communicate with their clients until Chief Judge Connolly started pressing them, which was months after they had been asserting and settling these cases.
Instead, the Court describes how they worked almost exclusively with Mavexar / IP Edge employees. Given that Mavexar ...