The District of Delaware has recently instituted several requirements in patent cases, many in response to the overwhelming caseload in part due to a judicial vacancy. In addition to the specific patent standing orders that all judges have issued, there are other standing orders aimed at efficiency and disclosure.
For example, Chief Judge Colm Connolly has specific orders requiring heightened Rule 7.1 disclosures and disclosures of third-party litigation funding. When these standing orders were issued, it was unknown how the Court would be handling these requirements. It is now clear the Court will enforce the requirements and parties not complying with those requirements will face consequences.
On August 17, 2022, in Longbeam Technologies LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc., C.A. No. 21-1559 (CFC), Chief Judge Connolly issued an oral order in response to a parties’ Rule 7.1 disclosure and third-party funding statements. The Court stated, “I have concerns about Longbeam’s standing to pursue this action and whether it has complied with the Court’s standing order regarding third-party litigation funding arrangements.” The Court granted the defendant’s request to conduct discovery on third-party litigation funding including but not limited to “documents and testimony from Longbeam’s principals relevant to the issues of standing and third-party litigation funding, including the nature and extent of IP edge’s interests in this litigation and the asserted patents.” The Court stayed the case to conduct this discovery. This demonstrates that parties need to take the disclosure requirements seriously to avoid negative consequences. The best practice is to err on side of disclosure.
Overall, clients with litigation in the District of Delaware should be prepared for the possibility of more requirements and procedures. Last month at a Delaware Federal Bar event, Chief Judge Connolly provided the Court’s Annual Report on the Court’s status. Chief Judge Connolly discussed the heavy case load of the Court, which has more patent and security cases than most all Courts in the country when you look at weighted averages. Chief Judge Connolly discussed methods the Court would be using including: utilization of magistrates, special masters, and further orders. This month, the Court also announced a new filing deadline of 5:00 pm instead of 6:00 pm for filings other than initial pleadings, which is effective September 1, 2022.