Thursday, July 14, 2016

Next Gen: How Docket Navigator and Judge Alsup Help Young Attorneys

In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (N.D. Cal.), an opportunity for law firm associates without many years of experience has opened up in a case being argued before Judge William Alsup. Judge Alsup has encouraged the use of lawyers recently out of law school in his courtroom, whether in oral argument or during witness examination.

On July 1st, Judge Alsup issued a notice regarding opportunities for young attorneys in a case which he is trying. The case is Illumina, Inc. et. al. v. Qiagen, N.V. et. al., case number 16-CV-2788. The case revolves around a patent held by Illumina in the field of DNA sequencing, U.S. Patent No. 7566537, entitled Labelled Nucleotides. At issue is Qiagen’s marketing of a DNA sequencing product known as GeneReader which Qiagen has attempted to market in areas under the jurisdiction of N.D. Cal., including San Francisco and Pleasanton.

Judge Alsup is specifically seeking young attorneys with four or fewer years of experience out of law school to argue two motions filed by the defense. One is a motion to transfer the case to the District of Delaware (D. Del.), where Qiagen argues that the parties have already been litigating the validity of the ‘537 patent. The other is a motion to dismiss the case because of a lack of personal jurisdiction. Both motions were filed around the middle of June.

The insight afforded by the legal case analytics services offered by Docket Navigator can keep a firm informed on a judge’s past decisions in the face of various motions. In this particular case, it could help the young attorneys involved with the Illumina v. Qiagen case make an educated decision on the likelihood that Judge Alsup would decide in favor of either of these motions.

On the motion to transfer to a new venue, Docket Navigator analytics show that, historically, Judge Alsup has split down the middle in terms of granting or denying such a motion. One 2010 motion to transfer was denied because Judge Alsup was not convinced that the transfer would be convenient to both parties. On the other hand, Judge Alsup granted a 2014 motion to stay or transfer a case in light of actions pending in related cases in the Eastern District of Texas (E.D. Tex.). Overall, in six motions to transfer, Judge Alsup has denied two motions, granted one, granted another in part and two others either had their ruling deferred or additional briefing was requested.

Motions to dismiss due to a lack of personal jurisdiction are a much tougher sell to Judge Alsup. Since 2010, he has denied four such motions while only granting two; another motion to dismiss had its ruling deferred. In 2015, a motion to dismiss filed by an individual defendant who alleged he never personally managed any of the activities related to the infringement within the jurisdiction of N.D. Cal. was denied because Alsup decided that the defendant was subject to a forum-selection clause of a sales-agency agreement. On the other hand, Judge Alsup granted a 2012 motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction after a related case being argued in D. Del. reached the same conclusion.

Data analytics can be crucial to legal teams, especially those trying to get positive results for their younger, inexperienced associates. Docket Navigator provides tools which help legal teams prepare for a wide range of legal motions.

Charts made using Docket Navigator's data.

This guest post was written by Steve Brachmann.

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