On December 3, 2020, from 3:00 – 5:30 pm CT the IP Law Symposium Committee, including Co-Chairs Jim Muraff of McDonald Hopkins LLC and Matt Marrone of McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd., and Vice Chair Viren Soni of the CME Group, are hosting a series of fireside chats and panels where you will hear directly from Judges across the country about current patent and trademark litigation topics, trends, and insights.  The chats will be with:

  • TTAB: Judge Linda Kuczma
  • PTAB: Chief Judge Boalick
  • Federal district court: Chief Judge Pallmeyer (N.D. Ill.); Judge Albright (W.D. Tex.); and Judge Kendall (N.D. Ill.)

The event is free for IPLAC Members and $30 for Non-Members.  Click here to register for the event.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Chief Judge Pallmeyer issued her seventh amended COVID General Order earlier today, October 29, 2020. As with the last order, there are no additional blanket case extensions. The General Order basically extends provisions limiting courthouse access to what is necessary. But it also suspends jury trials — both civil and criminal — from November 9, 2020 through January 26, 2021. Bench trials are allowed, but no jury trials will be held in the Northern District until late January, at the earliest.

Specifically, the General Order also requires:

  • No Local Rule 5.2(f) Courtesy Copies — Absent case-specific requests, Local Rule 5.2(f) requiring paper courtesy copies of many filings is suspended. In fact, “[n]o courtesy copies may be submitted . . . unless the parties receive case-specific requests for copies from the presiding judge.”
  • No Local Rule 5.3(b) Presentment — Motions may not be noticed for in-person hearings. Presiding judges will notify the parties if a hearing, either in-person or by electronic means, is necessary. This rule, extending across the COVID General Orders, may have the biggest long-term impact on Northern District practice, as it has long been a court governed by regular in-person hearings for nearly every motion.
  • Pro Se Email Filing Allowed — The Court is allowing pro se filing by email to the Court Clerk, so long as the document is a PDF, is signed and the email contains certain identifyin information.
  • No Public Gatherings — Neither federal courthouse is allowing public gatherings, unless authorized by Chief Judge Pallmeyer.

The General Order will be vacated, amended or extended no later than January 26, 2021.

ABC Corp. I v. Partnership & Unincorporated Assocs. Identified on Sched. A, No. 1:20 cv 4806, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Sept. 4, 2020) (Seeger, J.).

Having previously issued a show cause order, Judge Seeger granted plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint in this patent dispute naming the plaintiff, or the case would be dismissed for improperly filing as an anonymous plaintiff.

While Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 10(a) allows a plaintiff to file anonymously in exceptional circumstances and with leave of court, those circumstances include protecting state secrets, trade secrets or victims of abuse, not patent infringement. Plaintiff’s theory “seemed to be” that filing in its name would alert defendants and allow them to create new fictitious seller names or get new Amazon Standard Identification Numbers. But the Court noted that defendants could take those same actions at any point in the case, for example after a Temporary Restraining Order was issued. A patent suit alone is not enough to justify plaintiff filing anonymously.

I have watched an increasing number of IP suits filed by anonymous plaintiffs in the Northern District and have been waiting to see a decision like this, acknowledging that a plaintiff filing anonymously required unique circumstances, beyond the risk of defendant avoiding judgment by altering its identity.

Chief Judge Pallmeyer opted for an abbreviated format for her sixth amended COVID General Order issued, Friday, September 4. That is presumably because the order is simpler than it was at the outset of the pandemic. There are no blanket case extension. The General Order basically extends provisions limiting courthouse access to wha tis necessary. Specifically, the General Order requires:

  • No Local Rule 5.2(f) Courtesy Copies — Absent case-specific requests, Local Rule 5.2(f) requiring paper courtesy copies of many filings is suspended. In fact, “[n]o courtesy copies may be submitted . . . unless the parties receive case-specific requests for copies from the presiding judge.”
  • No Local Rule 5.3(b) Presentment — Motions may not be noticed for in-person hearings. Presiding judges will notify the parties if a hearing, either in-person or by electronic means, is necessary. This rule, extending across the COVID General Orders, may have the biggest long-term impact on Northern District practice, as it has long been a court governed by regular in-person hearings for nearly every motion.
  • Pro Se Email Filing Allowed — The Court is allowing pro se filing by email to the Court Clerk, so long as the document is a PDF, is signed and the email contains certain identifyin information.
  • No Public Gatherings — Neither federal courthouse is allowing public gatherings, unless authorized by Chief Judge Pallmeyer.

The General Order will be vacated, amended or extended no later than November 16, 2020.

The UIC John Marshall Law School’s Center for Intellectual Property, Information & Privacy is hosting a virtual seminar along with the Institute for Intellectual Property & Social Justice on Friday, September 11, 2020 from 7:40am – 3:00pm CT focused on IP issues in the midst of the pandemic. The speaker list is impressive, headlined by the Federal Circuit’s Judge Linn and Judge Michel (Ret.). The conference promises to be unique and thought provoking. You can register here.

Judges Wood & Pallmeyer issued a joint order requiring that everyone in public spaces of the Northern District and Seventh Circuit wear face masks or coverings. The order includes all public spaces including the lobby, elevators, restrooms, public corridors and also courtrooms, absent direction otherwise from the presiding judge. The mask must cover both the nose and the mouth. The only exception to this order is for people with documentation stating that they are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons.

Yesterday, Tuesday, May 26, Chief Judge Pallmeyer entered a Fourth Amended General Order updating the first three (which extended all civil deadlines 28 days, an additional 21 days and 28 more days, for 77 total days) and further addressing the “Coronavirus COVID-19 public Emergency.” The fourth amended order did not grant any additional blanket extensions. The Court did suspend jury trials until after August 3, 2020. And, absent contrary directions from a specific judge, suspended courtesy copy requirements through July 15, 2020. Judges are free to hold hearings, bench trials and settlement conferences, although they should only be in-person to the extent necessary.

John Marshall is hosting its 11th annual Ethics in the Practice of Intellectual Property Law seminar on Friday, June 5, 2020, from noon – 3:45 pm CST. The seminar will be online and is offering 3.25 hours of professional responsibility credit, including 1 hour of mental health/substance abuse credit. Register here.

Topics include:

  • Conflicts & Representation for Patent Practitioners;
  • IP & Ethics: Current Trends & Best Practices;
  • No More Fear, No More Fright: How Attorneys Can Use Their Might When Facing Failure; and
  • Stress in the Legal Profession.

It promises to be a great event and is timely for those Illinois lawyers with their CLE compliance due in June.

On Friday, April 24, Chief Judge Pallmeyer entered a Third Amended General Order updating the first two (which extended all civil deadlines 21 days and than an additional 28 days, respectively) and further addressing the “Coronavirus COVID-19 public Emergency.” Beyond setting out the further extension and addressing hearings, settlement conferences and trials, the biggest change in the third general order is the paragraph 5 requirement that for any case in which no docket entry or order has been posted by the assigned judge since March 16 (unless the assigned judge’s webpage instructs otherwise), the parties file a joint written status report by May 18 addressing:

  1. the progress of discovery;
  2. the status of briefing on any open motions;
  3. settlement efforts;
  4. an agreed or alternate proposed schedules covering the next 45 days;
  5. an agreed or alternate discovery or dispositive motion schedule to the extent necessary;
  6. seeking any agreed action the court can take without a hearing; and
  7. stating whether there is a “necessary and time urgent” need for a telephonic hearing.

The Court also ordered as follows:

  • For all civil cases, all case deadlines whether set by the Federal Rules, Local Rules, Court order or Executive Committee order are extended by 28 days. For deadlines set before the first Order, deadlines have been moved a total of 77 days. Deadlines set between the second and third orders are only moved 28 days. The Order notes that the Court is accessible by ECF and, in “emergency” situations by phone or video.
  • Civil hearings and settlement conferences set on or before May 29 are stricken, and will be reset by the presiding judge on or after June 1. Parties can seek a telephonic hearing or settlement conference, but are warned not to do so seeking a “routine” status hearing. Such requests should “speicfy the need and time urgency for the telephonic hearing or conference.”
  • Civil jury trials set on or before June 26 are stricken to be reset by the presiding judge on or after June 29.
  • The Order does not impact deadlines to appeal district court orders. But the Court held that if an extension request was timely filed, the current situation was good cause for timely motions.
  • The Clerk’s offices are closed to public entry through May 29.
  • Local Rule 5.2(f) requiring courtesy copies in certain instances is suspended for all filings through June 1. Courtesy copies may not be submitted for filings through June 1.
  • Parties should consult the presiding judge’s webpage for hearings set after June 1 because motion call schedules will likely be altered, presumably to reduce traffic at the Northern District courthouses.
  • The Court will vacate, amend or extend this General Order no later than May 26.