A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: Standing Orders

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 …

A lot of people are interested in Chief Judge Connolly's Friday hearing about litigation funding. Here is a chart of this blog's traffic for its entire existence through this weekend:

Blog Traffic Through Nov. 6 2022

And here is a chart for that same period of time, plus one day—the day we circulated the post about Friday’s hearing:

Blog Traffic Through Nov. 7 2022

The Court clearly hit on an issue that people care about!

Why an Entity Like Mavexar Might Want to (Supposedly) Operate This Way

Watching some of the comments on yesterday's post, one of the questions that came up was why a patent assertion entity would be interested in giving away 5-10% of their settlement revenue to what seems to be a random person, in exchange for that person …

Under Rock
AI-Generated, displayed with permission

Wow.

I flagged on Wednesday that Chief Judge Connolly planned to hold an evidentiary hearing today regarding compliance with his litigation funding and entity ownership orders in three cases. Well, I went, and it was one of the most remarkable hearings I've seen in a patent case.

The purpose of the hearing was to dig into whether the parties complied with Chief Judge Connolly's standing orders regarding litigation funding and entity ownership.

But the Court's statements at the hearing offered some insight into what motivated those orders in the first place: Chief Judge Connolly believes (as he has said before) that the District Court is not a "star chamber," and that the public has …

These patent plaintiffs may have rough seas ahead.
AI-Generated

It seems there has been a lot of interest in Chief Judge Connolly's evidentiary hearings about compliance with his standing orders regarding disclosure of litigation funding and entity ownership, which are now scheduled in over 20 cases.

I've had a few questions about when the hearings are going forward, so here is an update.

Here Is When the Hearings Are Scheduled

Here is when the hearings are set for, at least as of today:

  • Friday, November 4, 2022, at 10 am in Courtroom 4B: Cases involving Mellaconic IP, Lamplight Licensing LLC, and Nimitz Technologies LLC are set for hearings regarding compliance with the Court's third-party litigation funding order. See C.A. Nos. 22-244, 22-541, 22-418, 22-1017, 21-1247, 21-1362, 21-1855, …

Get your popcorn ready...
Linus Mimietz, Unsplash

We've talked a lot about Chief Judge Connolly's standing orders on disclosure and litigation compliance, including about how he recently ordered in-person hearings regarding compliance with those orders in a fairly large number of cases.

Chief Judge Connolly's standing order on Rule 7.1 statements requires disclosure of all individual or corporate owners of certain entities, going all of the way up the chain and including indirect owners:

[I]n all cases assigned to Judge Connolly where a party is a nongovemmental joint venture, limited liability corporation, partnership, or limited liability partnership, that the party must include in its disclosure statement filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 7.1 the name of every owner, member, and partner of the party, proceeding up the chain of ownership until the name of every individual and corporation with a direct or indirect interest in the party has been identified.

Standing Order Regarding Disclosure Statements Required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 7.1 (D. Del. April 18, 2022).

We wrote about one instance, in VLSI Technology LLC v. Intel Corporation, C.A. No. 19-426 (D. Del.), where the Court ordered the plaintiff to confirm compliance with its standing order, and stayed the case when the plaintiff filed an inadequate response.

Now we have an update

Bullet Holes
Mykola Makhlai, Unsplash

At this point it's clear that Chief Judge Connolly's standing orders regarding initial disclosures and litigation funding are no joke, and plaintiffs need to comply with them or risk consequences.

Today, the Court took the further step of requiring the owners of plaintiff entities in at least 14 cases to appear in-person for evidentiary hearings regarding compliance with his standing orders.

The orders today generally took the following form:

Whereas the amended corporate disclosure forms Plaintiff filed in the above-captioned cases identify [owner name(s)] as Plaintiff s owner; and
Whereas the Court has concerns about whether Plaintiff has complied with the Court's standing order regarding third-paty litigation funding [or about the accuracy of the …

IP Edge? Is that you?
IP Edge? Is that you? Ahmed Zayan, Unsplash

We've talked a lot about Judge Connolly's April 2022 standing orders on disclosure statements and litigation funding, including earlier this month when we Judge Connolly stayed an action after a plaintiff failed to fully comply with those orders.

(Plaintiff in that action, by the way, filed an updated disclosure statement claiming it has no knowledge to disclose—we'll have to see how the Court responds to that).

Yesterday, it happened again, but it was triggered by a clever filing by a defendant. In Longbeam Technologies LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc., C.A. No. 21-1559-CFC (D. Del.), the Court put an order on the docket for the parties to comply with its standing orders:

ORAL ORDER: The parties are directed to certify within five days that they have complied with Chief Judge Connolly's April 18, 2022 Standing Order Regarding Disclosure Statements Required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 7.1. The parties are also reminded of their obligation to comply with Chief Judge Connolly's April 18, 2022 Standing Order Regarding Third-Party Funding Arrangements. Ordered by Judge Colm F. Connolly on 5/13/2022. (nmf) (Entered: 05/13/2022)

In response, plaintiff filed an updated Rule 7.1 statement but, as far as I can tell, no litigation funding