It’s been two months since the September scheduling conferences, so we were back across the street yesterday for scheduling conferences in patent cases, followed by scheduling conferences in … everything else. The cases discussed below are for Judge Gilstrap’s share of the Marshall and Tyler patent docket. I also included some observations on how cases are scheduled.
This morning saw the first naturalization ceremony in the Marshall courthouse in quite some time. Judge Gilstrap conducted one in Tyler a couple of months back, but it’s not often they make it all the way to Marshall. It was standing room only, with a monitor and chairs in the hallway for the visiting schoolchildren and overflow guests, with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter that helps put the event on at counsel table. The Marshall High School Junior ROTC provided the color guard, and ETBU provided a choral group for the national anthem and “America the Beautiful”. As my old trombone choir professor used to say, there wasn’t a dry seat in the house. Or maybe that was just me. Anyway, for an outfit without trombones they were pretty good.
Judge Gilstrap spoke on the obligations and privileges of citizenship, and shook hands with the new citizens (from thirteen countries) after they received their certificates from the DHS representatives, and an American flag from the DAR. The local bar association provided lunch for the new citizens and their families at Miguel’s across the square, and the Harrison County Elections Office had a table for new citizens to register to vote.
Naturalizations locally are decidedly celebratory events with a great deal of participation by the community. It was a good day to be an American and welcome our fellow citizens.
I’d like to congratulate Wes Hill for becoming the longest-tenured local rules chair in EDTX history, breaking my record this month of 9 years by beginning his tenth at the conclusion of the bench/bar. I served as chair from 2000-2009 when Wes replaced me, with 2009-2010 as my chair emeritus year, colloquially referred to as either the “victory lap” or “free at last” year, depending on who you ask.
Wes, here’s to nine more.
The dates for the 2019 EDTX Bench Bar Conference have now been set and are: September 23-25, 2019 in Plano, Texas. Yes, these dates cover a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Please mark your calendars accordingly. Rumors that the dates were selected to permit a launch window for the second annual Texas dinner to be held on the International Space Station are completely unfounded. (It doesn’t have adequate seating anyway). But I can’t wait to see what the planning committee does to follow dinner at AT&T Stadium. No pressure or anything.
This afternoon saw entry of an order amending the local rules, including the patent local rules, effective December 1, 2018. As is usually the case, many of the changes or minor and don’t affect practice all that much, but this year there are several significant ones that I want to discuss.
Earlier this evening, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm a number of judicial nominees to district and appellate courts. They included three circuit judges and six district judges by record vote, and six more judges by voice vote. Included in the last group was Jeremy Kernodle for Judge Schneider’s vacancy in the Tyler Division of the Eastern District of Texas.
This fills one of the four vacancies that currently exist, and will give the EDTX a fifth active judge for the first time since Judge Clark took senior status earlier this year. Senate Judiciary has already approved the nominations of Cam Barker of Austin and Michael Schneider of Beaumont for two of the three remaining judgeships, but floor votes have not been scheduled.
There is not yet a replacement nominee for the fourth vacancy since the withdrawal of the nomination of Jeff Mateer late last year.
Yes, there’s the whole AT&T Stadium thing, but the unquestioned highlight of the bench/bar next week just has to be the panel I will be co coordinating. In classic EDTX bench/bar brochure style it is titled:
Local Rules, Local Patent Rules, Divisions & Judges of EDTX. From Case Management Conferences and Discovery to Voir Dire and Jurors Who Sometimes Ask Questions, It’s Not as Homogeneous as You Might Think. But Fairness and Credibility Counts Everywhere.
For reasons I can’t currently recall, I thought it would be a good idea to address this topic using an online Jeopardy! format (Attendees at the bench/bar planning session thought I was joking when I brought this up – which would have been a good bet – but it turns out I wasn’t). I saw Claude DuCloux use this for a ethics presentation in Austin last year and thought it would be particularly effective for a presentation on rules. My panel co-cordinator Alex McNicholas has been putting together the substance of the presentation, leaving me to focus on the bad jokes. Our panel consists of:
- Alex McNicholas – EDTX Career Law Clerk (Panel Co Coordinator)
- Boone Baxter – Heim, Payne & Chorush, LLP (Former Law Clerk to Judge Schroeder & Judge Davis – Texarkana/Tyler Divisions
- Elizabeth Forrest – Siebman Forrest Burg & Smith, LLP (Former Law Clerk to Judge Mazzant – Sherman/Plano Division
- Elizabeth Chiaviello (Former Law Clerk to Judge Schroeder & Judge Mitchell – Tyler/Texarkana Divisions)
- Rudy Fink – McKool Smith (Former Law Clerk to Judge Gilstrap, Judge Payne and Judge Bryson – Marshall Division & CAFC)
- Ben Elacqua – Fish & Richardson (Former Law Clerk to Judge Clark – Beaumont Division)
Topics currently slated are:
- Behind the Pine Curtain
- How Appealing, and
- Local Local Rules
The questions will lead into a discussion of the topics by this stellar group of practitioners.
I’m pleased to announce that the EDTX bench/bar speakers lineup now includes Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who will be welcoming attendees at the Thursday dinner at AT&T Stadium.
As I’ve previously posted, Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, will be keynote speaker at the Texas Dinner in Honor of the Judiciary and the 7th Amendment on the field at AT&T Stadium.
Warming up the crowd for Director Iancu will be Texas author S.C. Gwynne, author of Rebel Yell, Empire of the Summer Moon and The Perfect Pass, who will tell lawyers and judges what they should take away from Hal Mumme, Mike Leach, Stonewall Jackson and and the Comanche Indians. Focusing on The Perfect Pass, Gwynne will tell a riveting story of innovation and how rejection of conventional wisdom and reinvention can transform outcomes and change the course of history. I’m not making that up – I’ve read the book, and it’s outstanding. Be watching for Director Iancu to use it in his remarks as well because … it’s a riveting story of innovation and how rejection of conventional wisdom and reinvention can transform outcomes and change the course of history. Football and patents – what’s not to like?
All EDTX judges are expected to attend, as well as judges from other Texas districts, Texas state courts, and from California, Tennessee and South Carolina. We are also pleased to have with us once again
Chief Judge Carl Stewart of the Fifth Circuit and Chief Judge Sharon Prost
of the Federal Circuit.
Yesterday saw a fairly unique proceeding in Judge Gilstrap’s courtroom in Marshall when he and Chief Judge Barbara Lynn (neither pictured at left) conducted a joint claim construction hearing in the case of Seven Networks v. Google & Samsung. Judge Lynn has a related case in the NDTX, so several months ago the judges coordinated the proceedings to combine the Markman presentations. While judges in numerous districts – including Judges Lynn and Gilstrap – have coordinated proceedings in related cases in different districts before, especially after the AIA required cases to be filed separately in more situations, conducting a joint hearing is, to my knowledge, a first. It will be interesting to see if the order is joint as well.
If it’s the second Tuesday of an odd numbered month, there’s a good chance there are patent case scheduling conferences going on across the street at the Judge Hall courthouse. This month was no different, with numerous cases heard for both Judge Gilstrap’s Marshall and Tyler dockets, as set forth below.