A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: Litigation Funding

Money
Pepi Stojanovski, Unsplash

Last week, Chief Magistrate Judge Thynge issued an opinion addressing a motion by accused infringers to compel the patentee to produce litigation funding discovery and opinion letters relating to the patents-in-suit.

While it involves litigation funding discovery, this case is a bit different from the recent Mavexar hearings. Here, the patentee is MHL Custom, Inc. who, it appears, is a practicing company and not an NPE. Beyond that, the case is still active (unlike some of the Mavexar cases) and the discovery is sought by the defendant, not the Court itself. In other words, this is a more typical ruling.

But the opinion is still notable. The Court granted the accused infringers' motion for three categories …

I'm not sure what to make of the name
KWON JUNHO, Unsplash

We mentioned the other day that Backertop Licensing LLC, one of the Mavexar-related LLCs, had filed two new cases in the Central District of California. We talked about how the C.D. Cal. requires disclosure of parties with a pecuniary interest, and how Backertop had not disclosed Mavexar.

Yesterday, the HTIA filed an amicus brief at the Federal Circuit that pointed this situation out (citing our post!):

In the past week alone, an entity that appears related to Mavexar (Backertop Licensing, LLC) filed suit without disclosing Mavexar’s financial interest, despite a local rule requiring disclosure of “all persons … and corporations … that may have a pecuniary interest in the outcome of the case.”

Also yesterday, Backertop filed new ...

Artist's depiction of amicus attorneys standing guard outside of the District of Delaware
Artist's depiction of amicus attorneys standing guard outside of the District of Delaware AI-Generated, displayed with permission

There has been so much activity in the Mavexar cases this week that it's hard to keep up. Over the last two days, various parties have requested leave to file a total of six amicus briefs in response to the Mavexar petition for a writ of mandamus in the Nimitz case, and the respondent filed their brief as well.

All of the briefs were great, and many repeat some of the same arguments. I thought it might be worthwhile to take a spin through them and mention a few notable or unique points in each.

(If you need an overview, check out our …

Charging Bull
AI-Generated, displayed with permission

Well this clears things up.

Background of the Mandamus Petition

We've talked about how Chief Judge Connolly has held multiple hearings in the Mavexar actions, examining the owners of several patent assertion LLCs and discovering that the real party in interest seems to be Mavexar LLC. The witnesses testified that Mavexar recruits people to serve as plaintiffs, but then runs the litigation themselves—including seemingly all substantive decisions, even settlement.

After the most recent hearings, Chief Judge Connolly issued a series of orders requiring production to the Court of various communications between the LLCs, their attorneys, and Mavexar. One of the entities involved, Nimitz, immediately filed a petition for a writ of mandamus to stop the Court's …

If you're going to have to face an <a href='#' class='abbreviation' data-bs-toggle='tooltip' data-placement='top' title='Non-Practicing Entity'>NPE</a> patent suit anyway, C.D. Cal. is a nice place to go for hearings.
If you're going to have to face an NPE patent suit anyway, C.D. Cal. is a nice place to go for hearings. Venti Views, Unsplash

I heard over the holiday break that one of the Mavexar-related entities, Backertop Licensing LLC, has continued to file suits, this time in the Central District of California. I also heard that they did not disclose Mavexar as an entity with an interest in the case, despite a rule requiring them to do so.

Yep, That Looks Like Backertop

I checked PACER, and it indeed looks like an entity …

"Lamplight" isn't the worst name for a patent assertion entity. Riley Bourdon, Unsplash

Today brought yet another twist in the ongoing Mavexar saga. In one of the cases, a defendant—not the plaintiff—moved unopposed for a protective order to prevent the Mavexar-related LLC from producing the documents that the defendant sent to it (and that, presumably, the Mavexar-related LLC may have sent to Mavexar itself).

Specifically, the defendant moved for a protective order to "prevent the public filing of three categories of information that ABB expects to be provided by Plaintiff and its counsel in response to the Court’s Memorandum Order," including (1) documents related to sales and royalty rates, (2) communications related to the terms of the settlement agreement, and (3) the agreement itself.

As to those three categories, the defendant asked the Court to issue a protective order that protects the info from disclosure in both filings and in future hearings or ...

Stop
Markus Spiske, Unsplash

These Mavexar-related cases are developing so fast, we can hardly keep up!

We've talked about how Chief Judge Connolly issued an order directing certain of the Mavexar-related entities to produce documents, including materials related to their communications with Mavexar. We also discussed the Nimitz entities' petition for a writ of mandamus to stop enforcement of the order and to stop the Court's "judicial inquisition."

Yesterday, the Federal Circuit responded and stayed the order:

IT IS ORDERED THAT:
Defendants CNET Media, Inc., Bloomberg L.P.; BuzzFeed, Inc.; and Imagine Learning, Inc. are directed to respond to the petition no later than November 30, 2022, whether defendants fully defend, partly defend, or decline to defend the challenged order. …

Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carrier
Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carrier Unknown

Yesterday, Nimitz Technologies LLC, one of the entities involved in the recent Mavexar hearings, filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Federal Circuit to "review and reverse" the Court's most recent memorandum order in those cases, and to "direct[] the district court to terminate its judicial inquisition of the Petitioner."

If you recall from our post last week, the Court issued an order in three of the Mavexar-related cases directing Nimitz and two other plaintiffs to disclose a broad range of communications and documents, including things like retention agreements, bank account statements, and communications between the plaintiffs or their principals or attorneys and Mavexar.

Nimitz argues that the documents and communications …

Uh-oh.
Uh-oh. AI-Generated, displayed with permission

Shortly after today's hearing regarding compliance with Chief Judge Connolly's standing orders, the Court issued orders in each of the cases from the similar hearing last week, requiring production of a broad range of communications among the plaintiffs, Mavexar, and their attorneys.

The Court issued similar orders in each case, each setting forth the Court's concerns:

Whereas the testimony of witnesses and representations of counsel at the November 4, 2022 hearing give rise to concerns that include but are not limited to the accuracy of statements in filings made by [each plaintiff] with the Court and whether the real parties in interest are before the Court;

The Court then issued production of …

"This is how I'm going to explain to my wife why she should have an LLC that holds our company's patents." AI-Generated, displayed with permission

Chief Judge Connolly held another hearing today regarding compliance with his standing orders on litigation funding, this time exploring the relationship between NPE plaintiff Backertop Licensing LLC and MAVEXAR, the entity that is said to have created Backertop.

Last week's hearing involved testimony from a sales person and a restaurateur who owns a food truck, each of whom had been recruited by MAVEXAR to be the sole member of a patent assertion NPE, as an "investment" opportunity or a way to make "passive income."

Each "owner" received either 5% or 10% of the …