For those patent cases that were on the eve of trial, or at least relatively close, the COVID-19 pandemic will likely represent a delay—either of a defined or undefined length—as reflected by some of the orders issued in those matters.
Eastern District of arkansas (Little Rock)
Chief District Judge D.P. Marshall, Jr.
Jager Pro, LLC v. Bull Creek Welding and Fabrication, Inc. – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas in Little Rock issued an Order cancelling a trial scheduled for June 7, 2021 because the Court has older cases set for trial that week. In the same Order, the Court noted that it had previously cancelled a trial scheduled for April 12, 2021 against another defendant due to “the ongoing emergency conditions due to COVID-19.” The Court further stated that it will decide the dispositive motions that have already been briefed by the parties, and reset trial dates for the matters, if necessary, in due course. (Case No. 4:19-cv-00107; March 12, 2021).
Central District of California (Southern Division—Santa Ana)
District Judge David O. Carter
Pinn, Inc. v. Apple Inc. – The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s Southern Division in Santa Ana reset the jury trial for September 14, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. (PDT) and the pretrial conference for June 14, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. (PDT), after discussing with counsel the Court's schedule and the “expected availability of a jury venire,” (Case No. 8:19-cv-01805; March 3, 2021).
District Judge James V. Selna
Fisher and Paykel Healthcare Limited v. Flexicare Incorporated – The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana granted plaintiff’s motion to continue the current June 1, 2021 jury trial date until October 21, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court noted that Orange County is presently in the purple zone, and would have to move two zones to the yellow zone before the Court could begin conducting jury trials under the present General Order, which was deemed “unrealistic in light of the present trial date.” The Court also noted a number of other factors that “compel a continuance”: 1) criminal cases take priority under the Speedy Trial Act and since the Court has not tried a criminal case in over a year, there is a backlog which must be addressed once the Court opens for jury trials; 2) there are many civil cases older than this case to be tried and there is no basis to advance this case ahead of other civil litigants who have also been waiting; and 3) there is a seven-week lead time to summons a jury. The parties were also advised that there is no assurance that the trial will proceed on October 21, 2021 for the same reasons. (Case No. 8:19-cv-00835; February 24, 2021).
TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. v. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson et al. – The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana vacated the April 2021 jury trial date and all other dates, other than the parties’ January 11, 2021 mediation, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court set a status conference for 9:00 a.m. on January 19, 2021 to discuss the results of the mediation and rescheduling of the trial and all other dates. (Case No. 8:14-cv-00341; December 14, 2020).
District Judge Josephine L. Staton
Sportspower Ltd., Inc. v. Crowntec Fitness Mfg. Ltd. – The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s Southern Division in Santa Ana sua sponte continued the pretrial hearing and deadlines for motions in limine from April 3, 2020 to August 7, 2020. The order was issued in accordance with the Central District of California’s Continuity of Operations Plan (“COOP”) which suspended hearings in civil cases, except emergency and time sensitive matters including temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, as ordered by the assigned district judge. (Case No. 8:17-cv-02032; March 30, 2020).
Central District of California (Western Division—Los Angeles)
District Judge John A. Kronstadt
Nike, Inc. v. Skechers U.S.A., Inc. – The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s Western Division in Los Angeles issued a ruling on a number of motions, and instructed the parties to meet and confer and file a joint report about their respective views as to the potential trial dates of March 16, 2021 or March 30, 2021. The Court further indicated that its order setting a trial date will also set a date for a status conference in January 2021, which will proceed “if necessary to discuss a potential modification of the trial date in light of any ongoing issues related to COVID-19.” (Case No. 2:17-cv-08509; October 26, 2020).
Northern District of California (San Francisco)
District Judge Edward M. Chen
Asetek Danmark A/S v. CoolIT Systems, Inc.- The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco issued an Order setting a trial date of February 28, 2022, but warning the parties about the “uncertainty of trial scheduling in light of the backlog due to the pandemic and the possibility of trailing.” The Court further encouraged the parties to continue exploring settlement negotiations and alternative dispute resolution in light of the uncertainties of trial, particularly under the “consequential circumstances” presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Case No. 3:19-cv-00410; December 22, 2020).
District Judge William H. Orrick
Intel Corp. v. Tela Innovations, Inc. – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco issued an Order ruling on Summary Judgment Motions, Motions To Strike and Exclude, and Administrative Motions To Seal. The Court further indicated that it appears the case will proceed to trial on February 25, 2021 “as long as COVID-19 conditions in the Bay Area counties allow for it”, but that it will have further information at the Pretrial Conference. On January 9, 2021, the Court issued an Order vacating the deadlines and hearings in the stipulated scheduling order, further indicating that if the defendant’s Motion To Certify Judgment and Stay Pending Appeal is denied, a new pretrial and trial schedule will be set on January 19, 2021 during the Motion Hearing. On March, 1, 2021, the Court granted defendant’s motion for certification and a stay, until the Federal Circuit’s mandate issues, of the remaining claims that would otherwise proceed to trial. As part of its analysis, the Court agreed that there is no legal overlap between the remaining claims to be tried to a jury and the ones that have been certified but found that there is “significant” factual overlap. The Court stated that “the process of empaneling two juries to hear these same facts is overly burdensome . . . [and these] realities are especially true because of the pandemic.” The Court noted that jury trials in the District have been “rare and their timing unpredictable”, due to health risks, public health measures, and other concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and drawing a constitutional jury pool, managing the venire, and protecting the health of the jury panel, court staff, and the litigants during trial is a challenge during the pandemic. Referring to the situation as “not possible to predict”, at best, the Court further noted that “it is entirely plausible that the parties would perform extensive trial preparation work only to have it called off if the public health situation deteriorates again.” (Case No. 3:18-cv-02848; December 22, 2020, January 9, 2021 and March 1, 2021).
District Judge Richard Seeborg
Gamevice, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. et. al. – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco granted plaintiff’s Motion and Order to Extend Schedule in View of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, requesting an approximately three month extension in view of the difficulties in domestic and international travel due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions. The jury trial date, currently scheduled for July 6, 2020, was moved to October 26, 2020. The Final Pretrial Conference will be held on September 23, 2020. In an August 3, 2020 Notice Vacating Pretrial Conference And Jury Trial And Setting Further Case Management Conference, the pretrial conference and jury trial were vacated and the Court scheduled a Case Management Conference for September 3, 2020 at 10:00 AM to be held telephonically. (Case No. 3:18-cv-01942; May 19, 2020 and August 3, 2020).
Northern District of California (San Jose)
District Judge Beth Labson Freeman
Amazon.com, Inc., et al. v. PersonalWeb Techs., LLC, et al. – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose granted the parties’ stipulation and order extending by two-days plaintiff’s deadline for filing its motion for attorney’s fees, due to COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place orders in San Francisco. (Case No. 5:18-cv-00767; March 19, 2020).
Amazon.com, Inc., et al. v. PersonalWeb Techs., LLC, et al. – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose denied plaintiffs’ motion to stay a determination of attorney fees and costs pending appeal and rejected plaintiffs’ argument that public policy favored a stay due to the coronavirus outbreak. In analyzing the four factors to determine whether to stay awarding attorneys’ fees and costs pending appeal, the court found that plaintiffs had “made no showing that the public interest would be served by a stay -- only that the court’s ‘potentially reduced resources’ due to COVID-19 health concerns supports a stay.” The court acknowledged that COVID-19 has certainly impacted the courts’ operations across the country, however, it went on to say that “this Court continues to resolve substantive motions.” The court was not persuaded that any of the issues presented warranted a deviation from the court’s usual course of considering attorneys’ fees promptly after the merits decision rather than waiting for resolution of the appeal. (Case No. 5:18-cv-00767; April 20, 2020).
Finjan Inc. v. Cisco Systems Inc., – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose issued Civil Minutes for the pretrial conference held via Zoom Webinar on April 30, 2020, in which the Court indicated that Jury Selection and the Trial have been set to start on June 22, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. At this time, the Court intends to seat a jury of 8 (subject to change) chosen from a panel of 50. The Court held a Case Management Conference on May 26, 2020, during which it reset the Jury trial date to October 19, 2020. On September 24, 2020 the Court issued an Order notifying the parties that the Northern District of California will resume civil trials on October 1, 2020, and confirming that the jury trial for this case will commence on October 19, 2020. In response to defendant’s Motion To Continue The October 19, 2020 Jury Trial Or To Implement Procedures That Ensure A Fair Trail, requesting that the Court continue the trial to January 2021 or in the alternative to November 2, 2020 to allow lead counsel to “ameliorate” a medical condition to allow him to wear a mask, the Court reset jury selection and trial for November 2, 2020. In addition, in order to avoid any potential prejudice or unfairness, the defendant had also requested that an Order be issued “requiring all fact witnesses to testify remotely and that neither party have a corporate representative at counsel table during trial”. On October 8, 2020, the Court denied defendant’s Motion To Continue The October 19, 2020 Jury Trial Or To Implement Procedures That Ensure A Fair Trail to the degree it requested that “the Court issue an Order requiring all fact witnesses to testify remotely and that neither party have a corporate representative at counsel table during trial.” The Court rejected the argument that such an order was necessary to ensure a fair trial, noting that “[v]ideo testimony has long been used when witnesses are not available for in court testimony and it has proved effective.” Each party was granted “complete discretion” to determine which of its witnesses will appear in court and which will appear remotely by video. In an October 23, 2020 Order, the Court continued the jury trial to January 11, 2021. On December 16, 2020, the Court issued an Order continuing the jury trial from January 11, 2021 to June 4, 2021. (Case No. 5:17-cv-00072; April 30, 2020, May 21, 2020 & May 22, 2020, May 26, 2020, September 24, 2020, October 2, 2020, October 8, 2020, October 23, 2020 and December 16, 2020).
Southern District of California (San Diego)
District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo
Finjan, Inc. v. ESET, LLC, et al. – “Based upon the current state of extraordinary circumstances due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic,” the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego declared a mistrial, with the agreement of counsel, after suspending the jury trial proceedings and excusing the jury for the day. On March 23, 2021, the Court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment of invalidity for indefiniteness after permitting defendant to renew its motion in consideration of testimony that was heard from plaintiff’s expert on the issue during three days of a jury trial that commenced on March 10, 2020 but was vacated and declared a mistrial due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the issuance of the State of California’s stay-home order. Although the trial was terminated early due to the pandemic, the expert’s testimony was completed, and the Court indicated that “a subsequent trial is not an opportunity for [the expert] to change his opinions or supplement them with support he did not provide on the record at the first trial. The Court noted that the district’s “continuing moratorium on civil jury trials and backlog of criminal jury trials currently precludes scheduling a new trial in this matter.” (Case No. 3:17-cv-00183; March 16, 2020 and March 23, 2021).
District Judge Roger T. Benitez
Golden Eye Media USA, Inc. v. Trolley Bags UK Ltd. et al. – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego vacated the February 22, 2021 jury trial date, due to the COVID−19 pandemic and recent Orders of the Chief Judge suspending jury trials. The Court indicated that it will reschedule the jury trial date once jury trials are permitted to resume. (Case No. 3:18-cv-02109: January 9, 2021).
District Judge Janis L. Sammartino
Genentech, Inc. v. Eli Lilly and Co. – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego, finding good cause, granted the parties’ joint motion to bifurcate the “exceptional case” determination under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and attorney fees motion under Rule 54(d)(2), allowing the court to decide the exceptionality before defendant presents evidence on the amount of its reasonable attorney fees. The parties’ request is in response to stay-at-home orders issued throughout the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made it “difficult for the defendant to collect and timely organize their billing information necessary to meet their burden to prove reasonableness of attorney fees.” (Case No. 3:18-cv-01518; March 31, 2020).
District of Colorado (Denver)
Chief District Judge Philip A. Brimmer
Barnett v. Surefire Medical, Inc. et al. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado in Denver granted defendant’s Motion to Strike [Plaintiff’s] Jury Demand and denied plaintiff’s Motion for Trial Before an Advisory Jury, ordering that the four day jury trial set to commence on January 25, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. is reset for a bench trial beginning on the same date and time. The Court decided to exercise its discretion and decline to empanel an advisory jury, noting that the plaintiff concedes that no legal issues remain and “empaneling an advisory jury during a pandemic does not make sense.” During a Status Conference held on December 17, 2020, there was a discussion of General Order 2020-21 regarding Court Operations During The COVID-19 Pandemic, entered on December 16, 2020, which ordered that all civil jury trials and all in-person bench trials scheduled to commence through January 29, 2021 in any courthouse in the District of Colorado are continued subject to further order of the presiding judicial officer. The Court encouraged the parties to discuss the options of a potential bench trial via Video Teleconference. In an Order issued on December 23, 2020, the Court vacated the trial preparation conference, currently set for January 8, 2021, and the bench trial, currently set for January 25, 2021. The parties were instructed to jointly contact Chambers to reschedule. The Court reset bench trial for February 14, 2022, with the trial preparation trial conference to be held on January 28, 2022. (Case No. 1:17-cv-02470; September 28, 2020, December 17, 2020, December 23, 2020 and January 4, 2021).
District of Delaware (Wilmington)
Baxalta Incorporated et al v. Bayer Healthcare LLC – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington issued a Scheduling Order in which it continued the trial due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that it “really doubt[ed] that a jury trial is feasible on September 21st under the circumstances.” The Court felt a jury could be selected, however, “realistically . . . it would be a lot better to have a test jury trial where the practical difficulties of the trial are not exacerbated by having nearly every significant participant in the trial being from out-of-state.” Although it doubted that the parties would consent to a bench trial, the Court did note that such a trial would be possible to proceed as currently scheduled. The Court also expressed “concern that six months (and counting) of postponed trials is going to be a problem going forward” and that the “parties should expect to be double- or triple-booked for trial . . . [and] that they may not know until the eve of trial whether their trial will move forward.” In an Order After Conference, the Court reset the jury trial date for March 15, 2021. (Case No. 1:17-cv-01316; August 12, 2020 and August 31, 2020).
ChanBond LLC vs. Cox Communications Inc. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington issued an Order After Pretrial Conference adopting the Proposed Pretrial Order and indicating that the jury trial will begin on August 18, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. (EDT). The Court stated that “[t]he question of the viability of a civil jury trial a month and a half from now, complicated in this case by a multitude of witnesses being located within the United States but distant from Delaware, and the procedures that would be necessary should we be able to go forward, were left for another day.” In a July 15, 2020 Oral Order, the Court postponed the jury trial. In a October 13, 2020 Order, the jury trial was scheduled for May 17, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. The parties were instructed to submit a joint status report two months before the start of trial identifying any outstanding pretrial issues that need to be addressed, including whether they are having any witness availability issues. On April 19, 2021, the Court issued a docket entry resetting the jury trial to now begin on May 20, 2021. The parties were also instructed to submit a joint letter regarding “the screening questions for the COVID questionnaires” and a letter regarding the number of attorneys counsel are requesting to be present in the courtroom. (Case No. 1:15-cv-00842; July 2, 2020, July 15, 2020, October 13, 2020 and April 19, 2021).
Horizon Medicines LLC v. Alkem Laboratories Ltd. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington issued an Order rejecting a proposal to delay the bench trial, currently scheduled to proceed on September 14-16, 2020, until early 2021 so “that all witnesses attend the trial and testify in person.” The Court stated that it expects to go forward with the trial as scheduled, because the thirty-month stay will expire on November 30, 2020, and the defendant “may be in a position vis-à-vis the FDA’s requirements to launch then or soon thereafter.” As such it is in “the public interest” that the case be decided before then so that if not enjoined the defendant “has the option to launch and to provide generic competition.” With respect to the witnesses “unable or unwilling to testify in person”, the Court indicated that they may testify by video. The Court further noted that its expects “to have a limited number of lawyers, probably two per side, actually present in the courtroom . . . [that masking] and social distancing will be enforced . . . [and any] other persons (party representatives, other lawyers, support staff, the public) will not be in the courtroom, but will be able to watch the proceedings via video feed in another room or courtroom.” In an Order After Pretrial Conference, the Court indicated that the bench trial will begin on September 14, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. (EDT). The Court also indicated that trial counsel shall be “limited to two attorneys per side, with no substitutions.” (Case No. 1:18-cv-01014; July 29, 2020 and August 31, 2020).
Ingevity Corp., et al. v. BASF Corp. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington granted the plaintiff’s request for a continuance of the jury trial, due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, finding “there is little chance for a successful jury trial on September 14th, and I think it is prudent to continue it now.” The Court noted that “this is a jury trial, not a bench trial, and, while I believe that most bench trials should be able to be fairly conducted through partial or complete reliance upon video technology, a jury trial is a different animal.” The Court did not, however, continue the August 28, 2020 pretrial conference, indicating in a separate oral order, that it will be held using Skype for business. In an Order After Pretrial Conference, the Court indicated that the jury trial will begin on January 4, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (EST). The Court indicated that under the present plans trial counsel would be limited to two per side and noted that during the conference it had “explained some of its expectations in relation to COVID-19, and also set a conference on December 14, 2020, at 10 a.m. to further refine them in light of then-current events.” (Case No. 1:18-cv-01391; August 3, 2020 and August 28, 2020).
M2M Solutions LLC v. Sierra Wireless America, Inc. et al. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington issued an Order rejecting a joint request that the Court postpone the pre-trial and trial dates due to continuing complications resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The parties indicated in their joint letter that “the safety and practicality of conducting a jury trial under the current circumstances, travel by co-counsel and witnesses remains a significant concern.” The Court stated that it is “not now inclined to continue the trial to spring 2021 . . . [because circumstances] could change for the better; travel restrictions could be lifted . . . [and] the pretrial conference, at least, can be done remotely.” The parties were invited to submit a letter after Thanksgiving “revisiting the issue in light of then-existing circumstances.” The pretrial conference is currently set for December 18, 2020, and a 5-day jury trial is set to begin on January 11, 2021. On December 1, 2020, the Court granted the parties request to continue the trial due to continuing complications from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to safety concerns, the parties noted that some counsel, client representatives and witnesses face travel restrictions based on the need to travel from other jurisdictions to Delaware. Furthermore, at least three witnesses “are at increased risk due to their age” and defendant’s lead counsel “may be at increased risk due to a preexisting health condition.” On December 10, 2020, the Court granted the parties request to postpone the pretrial conference. (Case No. 1:14-cv-01102; October 2, 2020, December 1, 2020 and December 10, 2020).
Pfizer, Inc., et al. v. Apotex, Inc., et al. – On April 15, 2020, the parties’ request to continue a previously issued stay was granted and the April 29th pretrial conference, as well as the bench trial scheduled for May 11, 2020 was continued to an undetermined date. (Case No. 1:18-cv-00795; April 15, 2020).
Sprint Communications Company L.P. v. Charter Communications, Inc. et al. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington granted the defendants’ request for a continuance of the jury trial currently scheduled to begin on October 5, 2020, due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that the Court did not think “it prudent to make the first civil jury trial in Delaware be one in which the risk from the nature of the case – no one from Delaware but me, court staff, and the jury – is at the maximum, particularly when there is essentially no harm from delay.” The defendants had argued, among other things, that many of the counsel and witnesses would need to travel to Delaware from other states and that “given the size of [the] case and the number of counsel involved, a trial that limits Defendants to 4-6 people in the courtroom would be unduly prejudicial . . . with 8 or more counsel anticipated to handle aspects of the trial.” In the Order, the Court indicated that if the trial were held on October 5th it would only allow 2 attorneys per side in the Courtroom, further stating that it “may insist on this practice for some time.” (Case No. 1:17-cv-01734; September 2, 2020).
TQ Delta LLC v. ADTRAN Inc. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington issued an Oral Order directing the parties to advise the Court of their views regarding the “feasibility” of the scheduled jury trial currently set to begin on August 31, 2020. In particular, the parties were requested “to state which witnesses they intend to call live, to identify the states in which the witnesses live and their views on travel to Delaware then, and to identify any other currently known concerns about the scheduled trial.” The Court granted defendant’s Motion to Strike Reply Expert Opinions Based on the Doctrine of Equivalents, in part because it found that “the COVID-19 pandemic has already disrupted plans for an ‘orderly and efficient trial,’ [and] re-opening discovery to give Defendant an opportunity to cure the prejudice would only disrupt the schedule further.” In a separate Oral Order, the Court indicated that the pretrial conference scheduled for August 21, 2020, will be held using Skype for business. On August 4, 2020, the Court granted defendant’s request for a continuance of the trial, with the Court finding that various “factors” made it believe that this case is not a “particularly good case with which to conduct a jury experiment during a pandemic.” Counsel and many of the witnesses would be coming from out of state, including two defendant fact witnesses and an expert witness, who is in a “high-risk category”, that do not want to travel to Delaware for the trial as scheduled. The Court also noted that Delaware is still in Phase One of reopening and by standing order has postponed all jury trials through August 30, 2020; it did “not think it is prudent to maintain a schedule for a jury trial for the first day on which it is currently possible to hold such a trial.” (Case No. 1:14-cv-00954; July 28, 2020, July 31, 2020, August 3, 2020, August 4, 2020 and November 6, 2020).
Public Access Information for Hearing
November 13, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. (EST)
Phone No.: 1-202-503-1666
Conf. ID: 442633658
Wonderland Switzerland AG v. Evenflo Company, Inc. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington issued an Oral Order converting the jury trial scheduled for February 1, 2021 to an entirely remote bench trial on that same date, upon agreement of the parties. In a letter to the Court, the parties had indicated their mutual agreement to proceed via a bench trial, however, they requested “for the safety of all concerned, that the trial be entirely virtual . . . [thereby relieving] some considerable COVID-related anxiety associated with an in-person proceeding.” (Case No. 1:18-cv-01990; December 9, 2020).
Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke
Finjan, Inc. v. Rapid7, Inc., et al. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington held a hearing on January 15, 2021 in response to the parties’ joint letter seeking guidance from the Court “regarding whether, in light of the current situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there is any chance that the [February 22, 2021] scheduled jury trial can go forward.” The parties argued that “given the diminishing likelihood that jury trials will resume in February, it would be in the interest of the parties and the Court to postpone the trial in this matter until sometime in the fall, preferably September or October of 2021, at the Court’s convenience.” The Court ruled that the pretrial conference and jury trial will be rescheduled, and directed the parties to file a joint letter. On February 19, 2021, the Court held a telephone conference during which the pretrial conference was set for October 4, 2021 at 2 p.m. (EDT) and the six-day jury trial set to begin on October 25, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (EDT), to be held before Magistrate Judge Burke which the parties had consented to previously. (Case No. 1:18-cv-01519; January 15, 2020 and February 19, 2021).
District Judge William C. Bryson
Lipocine Inc. v. Clarus Therapeutics, Inc. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington issued an Order clarifying the schedule in response to a submission from plaintiff requesting guidance as to scheduling of events up to and including the trial. The Court indicated that, in light of the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the February 2021 jury will likely be postponed. As such, the parties were instructed to assume that the February 8, 2021 trial date will not hold, for the purposes of making necessary arrangements for trial. The parties were further instructed, however, that the remaining scheduled tasks set forth in the scheduling order were not postponed, and should be completed as currently scheduled to “ensure the maximum flexibility in rescheduling the trial if doing so becomes necessary.” The Court further indicated that it will conduct the jury trial on legal issues first and the bench trial on the inequitable conduct issue afterwards, considering any evidence that is introduced at the jury trial but is also relevant to inequitable conduct. On December 28, 2020, the Court issued a Second Amended Scheduling Order cancelling the pretrial conference, currently scheduled for January 8, 2021, and the jury trial, currently scheduled for February 8, 2021, because of the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court indicated that the pretrial conference and jury trial will be rescheduled once it becomes clear when jury trials will resume in the District of Delaware. (Case No. 1:19-cv-00622; November 12, 2020 and December 28, 2020)
TC Technology LLC v. Sprint Corporation et al. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington denied the defendants’ motion to postpone the jury trial, scheduled to start on August 24, 2020, which sought a continuance of at least three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court noted that although the District of Delaware has removed all trials from the calendar for the month of July, no action has yet been taken as to trials scheduled for August 2020. The Court indicated it will issue a further order with regard to whether the trial in this case will go forward as scheduled or will be postponed after the District of Delaware makes a decision regarding trials scheduled to be held in August. The Court ordered that the jury trial be rescheduled, pursuant to the District of Delaware’s July 17, 2020 Revised Standing Order Re: Criminal And Civil Jury Selections And Jury Trials, continuing all civil and criminal jury selections and jury trials in the District scheduled to begin before August 31, 2020. The Court directed the parties to meet and confer in order to seek agreement as to a new trial date, further indicating that it will not be able to conduct a jury trial prior to March 2021. The Court converted the July 31, 2020 pretrial conference to a telephonic status conference, as requested by the parties, to be held at 10 a.m. (EDT). It further indicated that the pretrial conference will be rescheduled at a later date. On August 24, 2020, the Court reset the jury trial to begin on May 10, 2021. (Case No. 1:16-cv-00153; June 30, 2020, July 17, 2020, July 24, 2020 and August 24, 2020).
Shire ViroPharma Inc. v. CSL Behring LLC – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington ordered the parties to submit by June 9, 2020 “a letter of no more than two pages setting forth their clients’ positions on conducting a bench trial in this matter”; and in a further Order, required the parties to submit by June 15, 2020 “a letter of no more than three (3) pages setting forth their respective positions, with any relevant authority, as to whether a bench trial can and should proceed on the issues of invalidity and/or inequitable conduct.” In an effort to move the “otherwise trial-ready case forward”, the Court sought the parties’ input regarding how to proceed, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has “currently rendered the scheduling of jury trials difficult if not impossible.” Plaintiff declined to waive its right to a jury trial, in response to the suggestion that the parties consider proceeding with a bench trial on all claims, however it “agreed that the inequitable conduct claim could be resolved via a bench trial, but pressed that (a) it is entitled to a jury trial on Defendants’ counterclaim of invalidity, and (b) any bench trial on inequitable conduct should not proceed until after the jury trial on infringement and invalidity.” The Court agreed that with respect to defendant’s invalidity counterclaims, plaintiff is entitled as a matter of right to a jury trial, therefore it “must try both Plaintiff’s infringement claim and Defendants’ invalidity counterclaim before a jury, and in light of the current limitation on jury trials, the question still remains as to whether a bench trial can proceed solely on Defendants’ counterclaim for inequitable conduct prior to the jury trial on infringement/invalidity.” The Court further ruled that it must “determine whether there are ‘common factual issues’ between Defendant’s counterclaim for invalidity and Defendant’s counterclaim for inequitable conduct, such that a bifurcated bench trial on inequitable conduct prior to a jury trial on infringement/invalidity would violate Plaintiff’s Seventh Amendment rights.” Lacking sufficient information to make this determination of whether or not “common factual issues” exist, the Court directed the parties to submit letter briefs specifying the facts they intend to introduce regarding the invalidity and inequitable conduct counterclaims. After reviewing the parties’ letters, the Court found “that there is a risk of overlapping factual issues on the inequitable conduct and invalidity claims such that a bench trial on equitable conduct should not proceed before a jury trial on the other two claims.” The Court further indicated that it had spoken with Chief Judge Leonard Stark regarding trial scheduling, and advised the parties “that once Delaware courtrooms are cleared for civil trials, a trial date will be selected forthwith.” (Case No. 1:17-cv-00414; June 4, 2020, June 11, 2020, July 29, 2020 and September 17, 2020).
District Judge Kent A. Jordan
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation v. Accord Healthcare Inc. et al. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington denied defendant's motion for a partial stay of final judgment, seeking to avoid the reset of the Food and Drug Administration's final approval of defendant’s Abbreviated New Drug Application ("ANDA"), after a finding that the patent was infringed and not invalid. As part of its argument, defendant pointed to potential irreparable harm caused by delay in the re-approval process, if defendant is successful on appeal, calling the suggestion that approval will be speedy “speculation," and suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic could cause delays in approval. The Court found that fulfilling the congressional intent that a final approval be reset as a result of final judgement against the applicant will not irreparably harm defendant, nor would it be in the public's interest to change the "careful balance" created by Congress, including entrusting enforcement of final judgments to the FDA. (Case No. 1:18-cv-01043; December 10, 2020).
District Judge Maryellen Noreika
TriMed Inc. v. Arthrex Inc. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington issued an Order after Pretrial Conference with respect to a bench trial set to begin on September 14, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. Among the items covered in the Order, the Court ruled that “[e]ach side may have no more than three (3) attorneys and one (1) support person in the courtroom at any given time, and only two (2) persons are permitted at counsel table per side at any given time . . . [and in] its discretion, the Court may modify these limitations at any time or impose additional restrictions to ensure the safety of court personnel and all persons attending trial.” In addition, it was ordered that all persons in the courtroom must wear a mask at all times, unless excused by the Court, and “the mask must be worn properly (i.e., covering the person’s nose and mouth).” On March 29, 2021, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion revising the Court’s previous construction of a disputed claim term. As part of its analysis, the Court referred to a demonstrative that it created during the three-day bench trial in “an effort to guide and focus a discussion that was being held remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.” After re-examining the intrinsic evidence the Court revised its construction of the disputed term in a way that the parties agreed requires a finding of non-infringement and dismissal of the invalidity counterclaim as moot. (Case No. 1:18-cv-00666; September 1, 2020 and March 29, 2021).
TRUSTID, Inc. v. Next Caller Inc. – The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington ordered the parties to submit a letter by June 30, 2020, stating either that all parties agree to go forward with the pretrial conference on July 6, 2020 live in the Courthouse or that all parties do not so agree to proceed live. The Court indicated it was “cognizant that traveling from other parts of the country or appearing live in court may present obstacles for counsel, [and therefore] the conference will take place live in court only if 1) all parties agree and 2) all attendees wear face coverings unless excused because social distancing is observed.” If all parties do not agree to an in-person proceeding, the pretrial conference will take place telephonically or at a later date when it can be held in-person. The Court further advised the parties that “[i]f the hearing proceeds in the courtroom, each side may have no more than two (2) counsel present, only one of whom may sit at counsel table at any given time [and arguments] will be made from counsel table.” The jury trial is currently set to begin on December 14, 2020. In a July 2, 2020 Order, the Court postponed the pretrial conference to a date to be determined. The Court reset the pretrial conference for December 7, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. (EST) and indicated that “the format (live or remote) [will] be determined closer to the time of the conference.” In response to a joint request from the parties to postpone the 5-day jury trial “in view of the parties’ concerns about conducting a jury trial in the midst of the on-going pandemic,” the Court reset the jury trial for July 12, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (EDT), and reset the pretrial conference for June 28, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT). (Case No. 1:18-cv-00172; June 29, 2020, July 2, 2020, September 25, 2020 and November 5, 2020).