CM/ECF – Determining When a Document is Filed

Most lawyers who practice in federal court have a love/hate relationship with CM/ECF – the court’s case management / electronic filing system.  But in addition to being an invaluable flashback to the ’90s, and the only reason PACER still exists outside of a computer history haunted house,  CM/ECF also provides a lot of information about filings – although not always the information it appears to.  I wanted to take a few minutes today to point out what a typical NEF (Notice of Electronic Filing) does – and does not – tell you, and where you can go to be sure you’re getting the accurate information about a filing. 

Hurricane Harvey – temporary office space at the Hub

The last time hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast, significant numbers of residents from New Orleans, Beaumont and elsewhere came to Marshall to shelter, in some cases staying for weeks or longer.  News reports are that hundreds of law offices in the Gulf Coast area – including Houston and now Beaumont – are shutting their doors temporarily and relocating or working for home.

If any readers are, or know of displaced lawyers from the area that have headed to northeast Texas for shelter but are needing temporary office space somewhere nearby until their firms reopen, please refer them to me.  When we renovated the historic Hub Shoe Store into office space a few years ago we set aside the entire east side as visiting office space for trial teams with all the necessary amenities, so we can host some displaced counsel that need office or conference space until things get back to normal on the coast.

PTO Director nominee Andrei Iancu and the EDTX

Friday afternoon the Trump Administration announced the nomination of Andrei Iancu to be the next Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Mr. Iancu has served as the managing partner of Irell & Manella LLP, practicing with the firm’s litigation and intellectual property practice groups.

I had the pleasure of co-presenting with Andrei a few years back on a panel on the EDTX that I thought might be of interest of readers.  I wanted to provide the relevant cites re: the panel discussion and a few comments about it and related publications:

“Jurisdiction & Venue: Where Does the Case Belong?” – TexasBarCLE Advanced Civil Trial course

As I’ve posted on previously, I cowrote and am co-presenting Jurisdiction & Venue: Where Does the Case Belong? at this year’s TexasBarCLE Advanced Civil Trial course with David Lopez of San Antonio.  Davis covered San Antonio, aka the “fun” location last month, and I covered Dallas last week.  Houston is not till October, and that’s usually a coin toss.  No offense to you 214 and 713 lawyers – it’s just that you don’t have a lazy river and s’mores on site like the San Antonio hotel does. 

Attached is the paper and the slides, credit for which goes solely to David.  If you want to know why there’s a photo of Sam Elliot as Brig. Gen. John Buford in the movie Gettysburg … go watch Gettysburg and see what he says about the importance of good ground.

(Ed. note: picture of hotel not taken during my presentation).

600 Camp Says Remand from the Supreme Court “best vetted and addressed first by the district court”

A district judge (not from the EDTX) once explained to an audience at a seminar that the court of appeals could reverse him, but “they can’t make me read it.”

The Fifth Circuit seemed to agree with Judge Hanen’s sentiment yesterday, deciding that after the Supreme Court granted certiorari, vacated its judgment, and remanded a case to it for further consideration in the light of its recent opinion in Moore v. Texas, 137 S. Ct. 1039 (2017), “[i]t appears that the remand from the Supreme Court is best vetted and addressed first by the district court.” Accordingly, it vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded the case to it for further proceedings.


TexasBarCLE Advanced Patent Litigation course day 1

Pete Peterson has kicked us off at the Advanced Patent seminar with his Federal Circuit and PTAB update.  Next up is Michael Hawes on venue scope after TC Heartland. Lots of great topics today, concluding with litigation tactics at 4, and boat cruise at 5. Update: enjoyed presentations on international enforcement, and discovery strategies, and right now DJ Healey is scaring the hell out of me about patent pools in the context of antitrust law intersecting with patent law.  Next up is navigating state  fraudulent demand letter laws,  and trial strategies and litigation tactics, after which we go get on a boat for a reception/cruise. Meanwhile, C&P better be reading their books for school, and not hanging out at the resort arcade…

ABOTA releases statement on attacks on Judge Gilstrap

I just received the attached announcement from the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).  A copy of the press release can be obtained here:

ABOTA responds to criticism of Judge Gilstrap

ABOTA defends Judge Rodney Gilstrap from attacks by House Chairman

Constitutional separation of powers requires judges to decide cases impartially without political pressure

DALLAS (July 19, 2017) — The American Board of Trial Advocates, a non-partisan national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges, opposes the direct personal attacks made by Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, about U.S. District Judge J. Rodney Gilstrap. ABOTA is dedicated to the preservation of a fair and impartial judiciary and the right to trial by jury. State and federal judges are accountable to the law, not to special interests or political pressure.

Recently, Rep. Issa criticized a recent ruling of Judge Gilstrap, District Judge for the United States Court of the Eastern District of Texas, calling his conduct “reprehensible” and insinuating the decision was motivated by a personal bias to local community interests rather than the law. Regrettably, Rep. Issa’s criticism extended beyond a challenge of the legal precedent to a personal attack on Judge Gilstrap and his integrity as a jurist.

“One of our primary purposes is the preservation of the independence of the judiciary,” said F. Dulin Kelly, ABOTA National President. “The judicial canons preclude judges from responding to public criticism of their rulings and when a member of the judiciary has been publicly criticized, our ABOTA protocol requires us to evaluate the criticism and determine whether a response on behalf of the judge or court is appropriate.”

ABOTA is an organization consisting of an equal balance of plaintiff and defense lawyers. The Texas statewide chapter, known as TEX-ABOTA, is made up of 16 local chapters and serves as a consolidated voice of more than 1,300 members. Ann Hennis, TEX-ABOTA President, said the statements about Judge Gilstrap are contrary to the organization’s ideals of disagreeing with respect, seeking a common ground, and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.

Mr. Kelly added that with members of all political persuasions and both sides of the bar, ABOTA and TEX-ABOTA strongly decry this effort to politicize and denigrate any individual jurist.
In a formal statement posted on, Mr. Kelly said:

“We reject the attempt to denounce our judges into foregoing their obligation to use their best judgment, devoid of influence, in an appropriate ruling. Whether you agree with isolated decisions or do not, political influence on our Courts is to be opposed.
When our elected representatives choose to issue personal attacks and name calling on any individual judge, demeaning the personal integrity of the jurist, the effect is to undermine the very principles of our liberty and government. Politics have no place in our courts. We believe judges should be selected in a manner that assures well-trained, qualified, experienced, independent and neutral judges. Political attacks that impugn a judge’s character have no legitimate role in the legislative framework. It weakens a critical, co-equal branch of our constitutional government. If we are to remain a nation of laws, we must have independent and neutral judges who will apply the law fairly and impartially. To utilize a personal attack against an individual jurist for the purpose of a political agenda diminishes the authority of our system of justice.”

Preserving the quality and independence of the judiciary has been a hallmark of ABOTA’s efforts for decades, and the organization believes that confidence in the nation’s judicial system is profoundly important. More on this topic can be found in the ABOTA white paper, “Preserving a Fair, Impartial and Independent Judiciary,” available at

About the American Board of Trial Advocates

Founded in 1958, ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges. ABOTA and its members are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. ABOTA membership consists of more than 7,600 lawyers — equally balanced between plaintiff and defense — and judges spread among 97 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


“Post-Trial Motion Practice” – TexasBarCLE Advanced Patent Litigation seminar

My second paper this week is one I’m particularly excited about, and that is “Post-Trial Motion Practice” at the TexasBarCLE Advanced Patent Litigation seminar in Horseshoe Bay.  The paper and – more importantly – the slides are attached for subscribers, and the following cases I’ll be discussing are attached below for attendees. (You don’t need them to follow the presentation, but you may want to refer to them later).

i4i Ltd Partnership v Microsoft Corp

DDR – JMOL order




The seminar starts tomorrow morning and extends through Friday evening at a pretty posh resort in the Texas Hill Country, and includes a waterfront reception and cruise tomorrow evening jointly sponsored by the Association of Women Lawyers of the Eastern District of Texas and the Intellectual Property Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.  The Eastern District of Texas blog is also proud to be a sponsor of the seminar, which is a traditional meeting place for Texas layers involved in patent litigation.  

My presentation is the second to last of the seminar at 2:45 pm Friday, but the good news is that there’s something even more thrilling to lawyers after me, Attorneys Fees by Amanda Abraham of the Roth Law Firm also from Marshall.  (The sad thing is that I’m not being facetious – attorneys fees really is a thrilling topic to those of us that will be there, and given recent caselaw, it appears we’ll be ending on a high note).

Those to whom it will not be thrilling are our twins Collin and Parker who are being dragged to the seminar involuntarily, just so I can take them to the nearby National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas Saturday morning.  They are, sadly, used to this sort of bull, being forced to spend a lot of their family time in museums with Dad, most recently Omaha Beach at Normandy last month.  (They’ll appreciate it later, I’m sure).

Again, subscribers click through for the paper (including a sample “JMOL worksheet”) and the slides.

“Jurisdiction and Venue – Where Does the Case Belong?” – TexasBarCLE Advanced Civil Trial seminar

her things, venue, coauthored with David Lopez of Pulman, Cappucio Pullen Benson & Jones in San Antonio. The paper deals with the relative jurisdiction of state and federal courts, as well as the venue questions that come into play once you determine which court you want to – or can – file in.

While David and I initially planned on co-presenting the paper at as many of the three sites as possible, schedules intervened, as they often do on these three-site presentations.  The paper was supposed to be presented this morning in San Antonio at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country resort, but we swapped dates and times to help out another speaker so David will be presenting Friday morning at 10 am, when I already have to be in Horseshoe Bay to present a different paper (more on that later) at the Advanced Patent Litigation seminar.

The next presentation is in Dallas on August 16, but had to be rescheduled due to a pretrial conference.  I would tell you that because that case was stayed last night we’ll be back on then, but as that’s the day we take our oldest off to start college at Baylor and I have to drive my wife and I home after we leave our baby, I’m pretty sure it’ll get moved to the 17th or 18th. (I can tell the State Bar that’s a conflict – I can’t tell a federal judge that.  My wife disagrees, but fortunately the point has become moot).  The third and final presentation will be in Houston in October.

Subscribers click through for a copy of the paper, and when David gets me the slides I’ll add those as well.