Global Statistics

All countries
163,184,616
Confirmed
Updated on May 16, 2021 12:39 am
All countries
142,613,971
Recovered
Updated on May 16, 2021 12:39 am
All countries
3,383,718
Deaths
Updated on May 16, 2021 12:39 am
Sunday, May 16, 2021

Global Statistics

All countries
163,184,616
Confirmed
Updated on May 16, 2021 12:39 am
All countries
142,613,971
Recovered
Updated on May 16, 2021 12:39 am
All countries
3,383,718
Deaths
Updated on May 16, 2021 12:39 am
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United States:

Texas Court Will Not Delay In-Person Trial To Permit Vaccination Of Participants


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The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the operation
of courts and justice systems worldwide. Courts have adapted to the
ever-changing situation by providing appropriate
accommodations?such as virtual hearings and having witnesses
testify remotely to safeguard the health and safety of all those
involved?while attempting to both deliver justice where appropriate
and clear the judicial backlog that has further increased due to
the pandemic.

However, the pandemic is turning a corner with the Food and Drug
Administration’s emergency use authorization of three COVID-19
vaccines. Millions of Americans have already received at least one
dose of the vaccines that require two doses for maximum protection
and many more will receive their vaccinations as eligibility for
vaccination expands and the country strives toward a return to
normalcy, which includes conducting in-person jury trials in the
courts.

A recent order from a pending patent infringement case,
Maxell Ltd. v. Apple Inc., 5:19-cv-00036-RWS (E.D. Tex.
Mar. 15, 2021), demonstrates an attempt to return to normalcy from
the pandemic, but may also hint that some elements of the pandemic,
namely virtual testimony, may become a permanent fixture within the
legal profession that is relatively slow to adapt to change.

Originally seeking a stay pending resolution of review
proceedings at the USPTO, which the court denied, Apple then moved
to continue the trial date to permit trial participants to receive
the COVID-19 vaccine because the pandemic poses a risk to trial
participants and would prejudice Apple’s right to a full and
fair trial. Maxell responded that the parties are prepared to
safely conduct the trial and that there are numerous precautions in
place to ensure the safety and well-being of participants. Maxell
further noted that this is the first time that Apple has raised a
COVID-19 safety issue and that COVID-19 risks were greater during
the period of the original trial date.

The court denied Apple’s motion to continue the trial date.
First, the court indicated that the district abides by
recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention and has numerous precautions in place to ensure a full
and fair trial while maintaining the health and safety of
participants. Second, continuance of the case would further
prejudice Maxell’s right to timely enforce its patent rights
because there is no assurance that the pandemic will have subsided
and whether the court’s schedule can accommodate a rescheduled
trial date. The court also determined there would be no
disproportionate impact to either side during trial if expert and
fact witnesses are unable to testify in person and must do so
remotely.

This order from Maxell Ltd. v. Apple Inc. is one
example of how trial participants may seek to gain a tactical
advantage from the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the broadening
eligibility of vaccine recipients under the guise of ensuring the
health and well-being of trial participants. However, courts that
have resumed in-person operations may not be so keen on granting a
stay in light of vaccination of trial participants, which may be
seen as an attempt to seek a tactical delay and advantage. Courts
have already made numerous accommodations to trial participants in
an attempt to keep the justice system operational and functional in
light of the challenges of the pandemic. The legal profession,
which tends to resist change, may be hesitant to change once again
or, in other words, revert to pre-pandemic procedures given the
relative convenience of virtual testimony despite any underlying
technical difficulties.

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please
contact Thomas J.
Kowalski
, Deborah
L. Lu, Ph.D.
, Brandon A. Chan, Ph.D., any of the attorneys in our Intellectual Property Practice Group, any of
the attorneys in our Trial
Practice Group
 or the attorney in the firm with whom you
are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been
prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not
offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more
information, please see the firm’s

full disclaimer
.

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