Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Exemplary decision in the Eastern District of Texas: Judge Schroeder rightly postpones VirnetX v. Apple trial in light of COVID

United States District Judge Robert W. Schroeder III handed down a procedural decision yesterday that reflects an exemplary sense of responsibility and makes troll-loving Chief Judge Gilstrap an outlier not only by comparison with other parts of the U.S. but apparently even in his own Eastern District of Texas. Judge Schroeder largely granted an Apple motion to push back a VirnetX v. Apple patent trial by a couple of months (this post continues below the document):

20-08-10 Order to Continue ... by Florian Mueller on Scribd

Judge Schroeder's decision, which is as concise as it is correct, is based on recent COVID-19 data provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The facts simply outweighed VirnetX's alleged prejudice.

It's interesting that neither the Eastern District of Texas nor its geographically distant equivalent in Munich are completely in the hands of what I call superspreader patent judges: Judge Schroeder does what Judge Gilstrap should have done, too; and the recent Munich insanity resulted from a set of immature decisions by the Munich I Regional Court's 21st Civil Chamber, while Presiding Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann of the same court's 7th Civil Chamber has--consistently based on what I hear from the legal community--decided to err on the side of caution and strictly enforced coronavirus prevention rules in his courtroom.

At times I wonder whether certain superspreader patent judges have given consideration to a simple fact: even in Germany, which has a relatively low COVID mortality rate, one in 25 diagnosed COVID-19 patients dies. So if you have, say, 50 people in a courtroom and a single superspreader person infects them all, two people will die on average--for a damn patent (troll) trial to take place now rather than later! And several of the survivors will suffer irreversible or at least longer-term harm to their health.

I can relate to people's passion for patents, but in times like these we all have to consider the wider ramifications of what we do. If judges don't do that, they're probably bad judges at any rate, with or without a pandemic.

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