A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: magistrate-judges

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Alarm Clock, Insung Yoon, Unsplash

Delaware judges routinely refer motions to one of our four regular magistrate judges. This is no surprise in a court with such a busy docket, especially when so many of our cases are complex patent matters.

One question I'm frequently asked when a matter is referred to a magistrate judge is "how will this affect the decision time?" It's a sensible question, and one might imagine that a referral from a busy Article III judge to a magistrate judge might result in a quicker resolution. The answer, however, appears to be that magistrate judges take about the same amount of time to resolve issues as the Article III judges.

Looking at a commonly referred …

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

In the District of Delaware, the district court judges often refer substantive issues to the magistrate judges, even absent consent of the parties. This is one way that the judges manage the incredible load of the patent docket here.

When dealing with substantive referrals (not referrals for mediation/ADR), the Court uses an assignment system, where particular district court judges tend to refer cases and motions only to their assigned magistrate judges (with occasional exceptions).

The most recent announcement of magistrate judge assignments that I know of was made at a Federal Bar Association lunch back in September 2019:

  • Magistrate Judges Thynge …