Intellectual Property Development, Inc. v. Boise Cascade Engineered Wood Products et al. (D. Mass. 19-cv-10228).

Intellectual Property Development (“IPD”) sued Warren Trask Company, Inc., National Lumber Co. and others in state court.  After the case was removed to Federal court, Judge Gorton referred all pretrial matters to Magistrate Judge Boal.  Both defendants asserted counterclaims seeking declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity of certain patents, and National Lumber asserted state law claims against and Glenn Robbell, IDP’s CEO and the sole inventor and apparent owner of the two patents.  In December, IPD’s and Robbell’s attorney moved to withdraw from representation, citing breakdown of communications, fundamental disagreements over the handling of the litigation, and failure of the plaintiffs to pay for legal services.  This motion was granted in January.  Trask and National Lumber each then moved for sanctions and dismissal, citing the plaintiffs’ continuous failures to engage in discovery, to provide a list of claim terms to be construed or file a claim construction brief, and failure to participate in conferences regarding claim construction.  The motions also noted that plaintiffs had failed to obtain new counsel, and that IDP, being a corporation, could not represent itself pro se.  Judge Boal recommended dismissing IDP’s claims and entering default judgment against IDP, noting that the corporation had been given four months to find new counsel and had been warned of the consequences of failure to so do.  She recommended denial of the motion with respect to Robbell, who (as an individual) can represent himself pro se, and declined to recommend other sanctions against Robbell.