Waco Division Miscellaneous Updates

For this week’s post, I wanted to cover a few noteworthy updates coming from Judge Albright’s Court. 

Jury Trial Will Take Place Despite COVID:

Yesterday Judge Albright held a hearing in True Chemical Solutions, LLC v. Performance Chemical Company, at the close of which Judge Albright stated the case would proceed to trial in Waco in January – despite the case being originally filed in Midland-Odessa. The Court noted that the COVD-19 pandemic infection rates were very high in west Texas, but the cases in Waco remain reasonably under control. Especially if VLSI v. Intel also proceeds to a January trial in Waco, it could be a very busy month in Judge Albright’s chambers. 

Working Group Meeting: 

Judge Albright also held a zoom conference with his Working Group yesterday where the Group discussed several topics, including:

  1. Updated Markman procedures 
  2. Update on a default protective order for patent cases filed in the Waco Division
  3. Discussion of the production of patent assignments and licenses with Plaintiff’s infringement contentions
  4. Appointment of a technical advisor – Judge Albright’s outgoing clerk Joshua J. Yi. This comes as little surprise to close observers of Judge Albright’s chambers (like us), given the Judge’s frequently-expressed praise for Dr. Yi’s contributions.

Venue/Jurisdictional Discovery:

We previously covered Judge Albright’s new standing concerning Venue and Jurisdictional discovery.  Recently, Judge Albright issued an order demonstrating just how serious he is about granting venue discovery. In Neonode Smartphone LLC v. Apple Inc 6:20-cv-00505, the parties entered a joint stipulation where Neonode agreed to strict discovery limits. However, right after the agreement was filed, Judge Albright issued his Standing Order which abolished discovery limits. Neonode filed a notice to withdraw from the stipulation in light of the Court’s new order, and Apple filed a response asking that the Court enforce the stipulation. 

Judge Albright gave the parties approximately three months to complete discovery with no limits, other than those imposed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1). 

Confidentiality of Preliminary Infringement Contentions:

In WSOU Investments LLC v. Huawei Technologies et al, Judge Albright took up a challenge by Huawei to de-designate WSOU’s preliminary infringement contentions as confidential. During the hearing Judge Albright stated: “I don’t have a problem with marking things as confidential.” Judge Albright permitted the preliminary infringement contentions to be treated as confidential, provided that Defense counsel was allowed to discuss the contentions with their clients.