This discovery order doesn’t contain the court’s reasoning, but the order is worth reading anyway because the parties present such diametrically opposed positions on whether discovery should be reopened on an issue, and the court clearly felt that under the facts presented it should not be – which included a broader context for the scheduling issues presented in the case.
Judge Albright denied the plaintiff’s motion to stay the case pending resolution of its IPRs against the defendant, finding that none of the factors weighed in favor of a stay.
I had a lot of fun taping this Friday afternoon with Azra, Kiley & Wayne for the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology’s “IP + Tech Month” program. I don’t usually say that about anything involving 73 slides, but here I will. My Texas portion started out as a 63 page script of cases over the past year, condensed down to 15 slides, but the condensing process – as it is wont to do – hopefully made it better and more useful.
The presentation started out with a brief overview of the Supreme Court’s new case on enablement which came out the day before, then covered patent case management developments in Delaware before I went through what’s happened in Texas courts over the last year.
A Waco jury in Judge Albright’s court found the asserted claims not infringed and invalid in Motion Offense v. DropBox. My numbering may be off, but I think that gets patent plaintiffs to a 54.5% win rate in Waco. The jury found none of the eight claims across four patents infringed, that none of the claims were entitled to an earlier priority date, and that all eight claims were proven invalid. But there’s a twist as to what was submitted to the jury.
Things can get complicated when parties file both infringement and responsive declaratory judgment actions, especially when all the exhibits have to be uploaded into the JARVIS, er, JERS system. “In order to simplify issues for the jury,” Judge Albright wrote, “the parties have agreed that Motion Offense may be referred to as the Plaintiff and Dropbox as the Defendant during trial. The parties have further agreed that Dropbox may refer to the fact that it initiated litigation against Motion Offense after Motion Offense sued a Dropbox user.” The Court went on to direct that “in order to ensure that the JERS system functions smoothly and consistent with this agreement, the Court … hereby DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to modify the style of Dropbox, Inc. v. Motion Offense, LLC, Case No. 6:20-cv-0251 to Motion Offense, LLC v. Dropbox, Inc., Case No. 6:20-cv-251 and to reflect that the defendant is Dropbox and the plaintiff is Motion Offense.”
Judge Albright denied the motion to stay, finding that none of the factors weighed in favor of a stay.
allocation” in order to keep plaintiffs from filing in single-judge divisions. The random assignment of all civil cases across the Northern District “would present logistical challenges” Judge Godbey continued, because of the huge geographic size of the district, which encompasses more than 96,000 square miles. Any reconsideration of case allocation must also consider the “convenience of the jurors, witnesses, parties and attorneys,” the travel burden on court personnel and “the desire of communities to have local judges.”
Apparently undeterred by said considerations, the chief judges of the smaller Western District of Texas (only 93,000 square miles) have assigned most of its judges south of Dallas and east of Houston a 1/12 interest, more or less, in the Waco patent docket, which meant that this Waco Division case was assigned to Judge Xavier Rodriguez of San Antonio, who last week granted a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims as unpatentable subject matter.
Judge Ezra denied the motion for judgment as a matter of law and intertwined motion for new trial in this copyright infringement case.
Judge Pitman denied the plaintiff’s motion to sever and enter final judgment on its claims for civil contempt, finding that the contempt claims arose out of the same transaction or occurrence, present similar issues of fact, and that the plaintiff would not suffer substantial prejudice.
They aren’t the first, and they likely won’t be the last, but they’re “very” notable.