“Pruning” Type Motions to Dismiss

One of the commonly cited uses for a motion to dismiss to to identify and cut out of a case claims or defenses which don’t have support, either in the law or in the facts of the case.  Such motions serve the useful purpose of pruning cases back to what’s actually at issue, although I have an editorial comment on that below.

But as with any pruning job, there’s a line between cutting off the dead wood and cutting out causes of action that are still at least potentially live.  This recent EDTX case illustrates where this line is with respect to pleaded claims.

Patent Lawyer Flash Mob

There was a priceless moment this morning at the ILT IP seminar in Plano.  The Dallas Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division was presenting a Jeopardy! Trivia game on IP trivia, but unlike the one I did last month, theirs was live and the different rows were competing against each other.

One of the questions asked a very technical question about a rule in IP, and no one got it precisely right.  The presenter put up the answer, which was lengthy and detailed, and the entire room of patent lawyers, seemingly as one, went into claim drafting mode and concluded that the answer was in fact correctly worded, and explained to its collective self why.

It then went on to the next question as if nothing had happened.

Anti-SLAPP Presentation Interrupts Trade Secrets Presentation

Just witnessed one of the more brilliant presentation tactics I’ve ever seen.  Paul Storm was just up talking about a case involving trade secrets, and as soon as he mentioned a particular party, his co-panelist Mike Karson stopped him, and took over the podium to begin explaining the effect that an Anti-SLAPP motion could have interrupting a case (as he did Paul’s presentation). Brilliant.  Just brilliant.

ILT IP Law Conference; PLI Advanced Patent Litigation Seminar; 22nd Anniversary

It’s one of those weeks when I use all of my packing pouches swapping out clothes as I go from city to city attending and presenting at IP seminars, and fortunately getting in a little family time as well.

I’m spending the first two days in Plano at the Institute for Law & Technology’s 56th Annual Conference on Intellectual Property Law.  I cochaired the conference the past two years so it’s a pleasure this year to sit back and enjoy what is one of the preeminent IP conferences in the country.  EDTX judges Rodney Gilstrap and Amos Mazzant will be joined by new WDTX-Waco Judge Alan Albright for the lunch judges panel later today, and I’m looking forward to that.

Then it’s off to New York to speak again this year at
PLI’s Advanced Patent Litigation course on ethical issues in jury selection, focusing on the challenges raised by social media with Suann Ingle.

The reward for a busy week is a couple of days back in Dallas with Jamie celebrating our 22nd anniversary Friday by playing foodie all weekend. As you can tell in the picture with our Baylor Bear from last year, she’s aged a bit better than me.

More Proportionality; Motion to Compel Sales Information Granted in Part

This is an order resolving a motion to compel on damages issues in a patent case.  At issue was whether the Defendants, a parent and a subsidiary, were required to provide financial data on infringing sales made by the parent to entities other than the named sub, and whether Defendants were required to provide financial data for certain additional products.  The Court granted one but denied the other, citing the “p” word and providing a useful list of things not to do to preserve a claim for discovery.

SDNY Patent Docket Control Order Adopts EDTX Rules

Thanks to Alan Ratliff for flagging this docket control order from the Southern District of New York from earlier this year which adopted (pursuant to the parties’ joint proposal) the Eastern District of Texas’ patent local rules for infringement and invalidity contentions and claim construction disclosures. The only fly in the ointment is that I wonder if the parties now know that P.R. 4-3 is being substantively amended effective December 1, six weeks before the relevant due date in the case?

A Streetcar Named ….

It often happens when walking with a visiting lawyer or client to or from the federal courthouse in Marshall that I get a funny look when we cross the bricked-up tracks on the north side of the old courthouse.  “Why are there train tracks in the middle of the square?” I’ll get asked.  I explain that those aren’t train tracks.  They’re from the old streetcars that used to run from the Marshall train station south the few blocks to the square. At the courthouse they split and from there went out half a dozen blocks or so to the neighborhoods east and west of downtown.
The problem is that until today I’ve never been able to find a decent photo of the trolley cars.  But here they are in a “History From Our Files” from the Marshall paper this morning, shown looking north from the steps of the then-new county courthouse shortly after 1900.
The “telephone” building on the right is now Telegraph Park, but was still there when I was little – my grandmother clipped poodles in it.  And the block of buildings on the left were razed in the mid-70s.  The reason I know that is that my mother took me out of school to watch them being torn down.  Why that was a “take Michael out of school to watch” event I never understood. But then, it was also a family event to watch concrete being poured back then – my initials are still in the sidewalk next to my office from when the concrete was patched in 1971 in front of my grandfather’s store, and he insisted she bring me out so I could put my initials in.
But immediately behind those buildings under the arrow is what was then the Marshall “opera house” which I’ve written on previously . “Opera house” was the term used in rural Texas for the places where visiting troupes of actors, singers, musicians and other entertainers played at stops up and down the railroad lines.  For example the Sherman “opera house” is now our firm’s offices in Sherman, as the above post notes.  It looks a bit different now, as shown at the dedication of the Sherman courthouse for Judge Brown a few years back.  Candidly, I preferred its original appearance, shown at right when it was a third floor and two towers taller.
But I digress.  Patent practitioners will recognize the building being pointed out as Pazzeria by Pietro – which was formerly the Blue Frog restaurant.