In significant and hard-fought litigation, it is not uncommon for parties to reach a settlement that includes an agreement to jointly move the court to vacate earlier rulings on key motions in the case. For a settling plaintiff that lost the earlier ruling, vacatur can be important to preserve potential claims against other defendants. Likewise, vacatur of an adverse ruling against a defendant allows that defendant to contest the issue in future cases. For the party that prevailed on the motion, there is often little incentive to oppose an agreement to request vacatur if it is part of an otherwise favorable settlement agreement.

We recently posted about the seeking preliminary relief under the Rocket Docket’s procedures. A recent decision from Judge Alston in the Alexandria Division is a good example of the speed in which the court acts in the context of the unique circumstances of a private litigant seeking a preliminary injunction against the U.S. government. CACI, Inc. v. United States Navy, Civil Action No. 1:23CV478 (RDA/IDD), 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88297 (E.D. Va. May 19, 2023).

The decision touches on a host of issues ranging from the law of trade secrets to the many procedural hurdles a party faces when asserting a claim against the government, while also illustrating how the fight over preliminary relief can, as a practical matter, be case dispositive.

In Bioness Inc. v. Aretech, LLC, No. 1:22CV679-MSN-IDD, Bioness alleged infringement of 10 patents related to a rehabilitative body weight support device called the “Vector System.” In response, Aretech filed a counterclaim alleging inequitable conduct and anticompetitive conduct in violation of the Sherman Act. The court denied Bioness’ motion to dismiss the inequitable conduct claims but dismissed the antitrust counterclaims.

The Eastern District of Virginia has long been one of the country’s most active venues for patent litigation, primarily because of its speedy docket.  A few years ago, Robert Angle and I wrote an article, found here, that takes a deep dive into why patent litigants file suit in the EDVA and how parties can navigate the many pitfalls and traps created by the rapid EDVA civil case schedule and the EDVA-specific patent case management practices.