No new normal for IP litigation deadlines in the age of coronavirus


Just as it is with the rest of life as we know it in the coronavirus era, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a dramatic impact on the norms in IP litigation deadlines.

There is no consistent rule of thumb as courts across the nation are addressing IP litigation deadlines in different ways.

As Bloomberg Law reporters Matthew Bultman and Ian Lopez wrote on Wednesday, March 19:

Access to federal courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been limited as part of government efforts to fight the spread of the virus. Judges have put jury trials on hold, canceled in-person hearings and, in some cases, encouraged that depositions be done remotely.

And then there’s the case of Saint Lawrence Communications LLC v., Inc, et al in which the court denied the parties’ joint emergency motion for a 30-day continuance due to the coronavirus outbreak. As quoted in the Patent Docket Report for Monday, March 17:

"⁠[One defendant], which is based in Seattle, Washington, represents that it has directed all employees in its Seattle offices to work from home for the remainder of the month…[T]he Parties are asking for the continuance since they will not be able to complete discovery under the current deadlines…While the Court is sensitive to the Parties concerns and the hazards associated with the Coronavirus, the Court is not inclined to implement delays or grant continuances unless a party can put forward specific concerns backed by firm restrictions from a governmental/public health level or actual exposure. The Court is confident that the attorneys for the Parties can craft viable solutions that allows the case to continue while minimizing the potential health risks…Having considered the Motion and striving to balance its decision between the competing parameters of prudence and panic, the Court is of the opinion that the Motion should be and hereby is denied."

We will be in contact with all of our clients with ongoing litigation matters. Reach out if you have any questions about how this might impact you from an IP litigation perspective.

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