MV3 v. Roku Update: Pandemic Trial Technology Is Complicated
For the most part, this week’s proceedings in MV3 v. Roku have felt much like any other patent trial. Attorneys wearing masks and a witness box surrounded by plexiglass are in one sense just part of the “new normal.” But a couple technical issues this week have highlighted how the coronavirus may complicate trial logistics.
First, the Court effectively lost a day of proceedings on Tuesday, for reasons that began prosaically and were then complicated by the pandemic. An early-morning power outage damaged the sound/microphone system in Courtroom 1. Normally, it would have been simple to walk down the hall to Courtroom 2. But Courtroom 2 lacked the above-mentioned plexiglass witness box—and setting up a new one isn’t instantaneous. Since the sound system couldn’t be quickly repaired, no witness testimony was taken. So trial proceedings resumed Wednesday in Courtroom 2, with a newly-installed set of plexiglass dividers separating the witness box from the jury and the bench.
Second, witness presentations have also been affected. MV3 had intended to present testimony for one of its witnesses—who was apparently unable to travel to Texas during the pandemic—via a live Zoom link. The Zoom call was set up during Monday’s afternoon break, and this eyewitness can confirm that it was transmitting and receiving. The jury was then brought in, at which point the Zoom connection dropped (we’ve all been there, I think). Ultimately, rather than trying again the next day of testimony, MV3 chose to present the witness’s testimony via traditional video deposition clips, not live.
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Where does trial now stand? Tuesday’s hiccup has slightly delayed the progress of trial, but not by that much. Plaintiff MV3 rested Thursday afternoon, followed by Defendant Roku’s 50(a) motions (denied), and the commencement of Roku’s case. Barring any surprises, Judge Albright intends to hold the charge conference at approximately 4:30PM on Friday afternoon. Monday is a federal holiday. And closing arguments are now estimated to occur either late Tuesday or Wednesday.
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