October 25, 2023

Senate Confirms Magistrate Judge Hall as District Court Judge for U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware

On October 17, 2023, the United States Senate voted 67-29 to confirm Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Hall as a U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware. Judge Hall will fill the judicial vacancy in Delaware that will be created once Judge Andrews takes senior status.

Judge Hall started her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Prost on the Federal Circuit. Judge Hall then clerked for Judge Jordan on the Third Circuit. Following her clerkships, Judge Hall litigated intellectual property cases at Fish & Richardson’s Wilmington office. Judge Hall’s public service career began in 2011, when she became an assistant United States attorney in the District of Delaware. Judge Hall served as chief of the civil division at the United States Attorney’s office from 2015 until her 2019 appointment to the bench in Delaware.

Judge Hall has presided over approximately 190 patent cases since taking the bench, according to statistics available from Docket Navigator. Judge Hall’s orders have addressed numerous issues including § 110, claim construction, discovery matters, and numerous procedural issues.

Judge Hall decided five motions on § 101 grounds, with each motion resulting in a denial. Many of Judge Hall’s orders included findings that the alleged abstract ideas did not fully credit or oversimplified the claims at issue. This threshold issue routinely precluded findings of invalidity at the motion-to-dismiss stage with each denial entered without prejudice to movants raising the issue at later stages in the litigation. Judge Hall also denied a summary judgment motion on § 101, finding that the claims at issue were directed to an improvement in computer technology, not an abstraction. See Innovative Memory Systems, Inc. v. Micron Tech., Inc. C.A. 14-1480-RGA, Dkt. No. 361 (Sept. 29, 2022).

Judge Hall has also ruled on motions to stay pending IPR proceedings. The stage of the IPR proceedings (pre- or post-institution decision) and the litigation, and the scope of the IPRs were critical factors in Judge Hall’s orders. Judge Hall generally granted motions to stay in view of parallel IPR proceedings in cases where the IPRs were instituted, they covered all or the vast majority of the asserted claims, and the district court proceedings had not advanced past claim construction.

Judge Hall’s appointment as a district judge will help the court as it continues to tackle the significant number of cases before it. Year to date, 377 patent cases have been filed in Delaware. Delaware ranks third in the number of new patent case filings this year, behind only the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, which have seen 484 and 439 new case filings this year, respectively.