A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


CFC
The Honorable Colm F. Connolly

Roll the Dice
Leon-Pascal Janjic, Unsplash

Since 2021, Judge Connolly has occasionally issued orders asking parties to either consent to a magistrate judge or have their case re-assigned to a visiting judge. The parties in three out of five of that first round of cases consented, and we've seen several rounds of these orders since then.

The Court also offered parties a similar choice in the wake of the departure of Judge Stark, before Judge Williams was confirmed. I haven't seen hard numbers on this, but in May of last year we estimated that around 20% of those cases consented rather than waiting for the new district judge and risking re-assignment to a visiting judge.

These consent-or-visiting-judge referrals have continued through Judge …

Prego!
Prego! Krista Stucchio, Unsplash

An interesting note on the importance of translation -- and accurate translation -- from Judge Connolly last week in Doda v. Waste Management, Inc., C.A. No. 17-604-CFC (D. Del. Jan 13, 2022).

The plaintiffs were an Italian engineer and his companies who were doing business with an American firm pursuant to an NDA. The NDA required the parties to mark any confidential information "'Confidential,' 'Proprietary,' or [with] some similar designation." Plaintiffs alleged that defendant breached the agreement by disclosing such confidential information to the patent office, which later published it.

The issue? The "designation" was only in Italian.

In their posttrial Proposed Findings of Fact, Plaintiffs state that this paragraph [below a signature block …

OK Nate, you win. Mavexar is a crab now.
OK Nate, you win. Mavexar is a crab now. AI-Generated, displayed with permission

We posted last month about two more mandamus petitions regarding Chief Judge Connolly's recent efforts to enforce his standing orders regarding disclosure requirements in his cases.

The Mavexar saga is getting a bit complicated, so here is a quick recap of the mandamus petitions:

  • Chief Judge Connolly scheduled hearings in several cases regarding various plaintiffs' compliance with his standing orders
  • In two of the hearings, the plaintiffs explained that an entity called Mavexar recruited the plaintiffs and took up to 95% of their proceeds
  • The Court ordered some of the Mavexar entities to produce a broad range of communications among the plaintiffs, Mavexar, and their attorneys
  • One …

Before we get too deep into the weeds on round 237 of the Mavexar saga, I wanted to propose a mascot. Something we can use on the site so that you can instantly spot one of these posts (you can also use the tags, of course). Having given it all the thought I am prepared to, I propose Mavexar the crab-monster.

Here he is happily greeting you and welcoming you to sit by his fire.

Happy Holidays Crab Monsters!
Happy Holidays Crab Monsters! AI-Generated, displayed with permission

Andrew may have a competing vision, but for now, look for Crab Man!

Anyway.

A Missed Deadline

Following the Federal Circuit's denial of Nimitz's Mandamus petition last week, we saw our first action from Judge Connolly on these newly un-stayed cases. I had not recalled that, under his original order, the plaintiff was scheduled to produce the documents related to its relationship with Mavexar and IP Edge by December 8. As it happens, that was the same day the Federal Circuit lifted the stay.

Neither the Federal Circuit's preliminary stay order, nor its ultimate denial of the mandamus petition adjusted that deadline. Nor, apparently, did Nimitz request the District Court amend that deadline.

So the 8th came and went with no production of documents. Indeed, up through yesterday there is no mention of the submission on the docket, which ultimately led the Court to issue a brief order requiring Nimitz to "show cause as to why it should not be sanctioned for failure to comply with the November 10 Memorandum Order." Nimitz Technologies LLC v. CNET Media, Inc. C.A. No. 21-1247-CFC, D.I. 37 (D. Del. Dec. 14, 2022). The Court did note, however, it would ...

A Creek View
AI-Generated, displayed with permission

We've posted a lot about the Mavexar hearings. Earlier this month, two of the plaintiffs in cases that had hearings scheduled, Creekview IP LLC and Waverly Licensing LLC, filed nearly-identical petitions for mandamus.

The petitions are linked below. In each, the petitioner seeks to reverse Chief Judge Connolly's order scheduling an evidentiary hearing to investigate compliance with the Court's standing orders:

Petitioner respectfully requests that the Court issue a writ of mandamus reversing the Memorandum Order and ending the judicial inquisition of Petitioner.

The petitions argue that the Court lacked Article III standing, because the cases had been dismissed, that Chief Judge Connolly abuse his discretion in issuing the standing order, and that Congress has …

Hasnain Sikora, Unsplash

The Federal Circuit made its second foray into the Mavexar (I think) saga on Friday when it ruled on a new petition for Mandamus is In re: Swirlate IP LLC.

The plaintiff in Swirlate filed a petition for mandamus on November 30, seeking to stop a scheduled December 6 hearing.

I should note at the outset the while the Swirlate case seems to mimic the M.O. of a Mavexar entity—a Texas LLC with a single managing partner with no apparent connection to the patent—the Court has not yet held a hearing on the issue, so we can't say conclusively that the matter is related. It was, however, scheduled for a hearing in December that that sole …

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 …

Space Fighters
AI-Generated, displayed with permission

I saw this case come in just now, and thought it was worth a post. Today, Power Integrations, Inc. brought an action against Waverly Licensing LLC, Mavexar LLC, Array IP LLC, and IP Edge LLC, alleging that those companies had engaged in a harassment campaign against Power Integrations over alleged patent infringement, and seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement.

According to the complaint, Waverly Licensing, LLC—by itself—sued Power Integrations late last month in the Western District of Texas. That case is still pending, according to the docket, and is assigned to Judge Robert Pitman (not Judge Albright). The answer deadline is set for January.

Now, Power Integrations brought a DJ action here in Delaware against …

"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 ...