I thought this was interesting. Magistrate’s daughter will be a summer associate at the patentee’s firm, and so she disclosed it to the parties and invited their views on whether they thought the case should be reassigned. It is Pacific Coast Building Products, Inc. v. Certainteed Gypsum, available here.
When I was clerking for the CAFC a few years ago, as clerks we avoided cases where we had any entanglement as an internal procedure, but I thought this was interesting because obviously the patentee’s firm knew it was going to hire the daughter, and the magistrate thought it wasn’t a conflict, but wanted the facts out there.
This is one of those instances, though, where if I were the patentee I’d be afraid the magistrate would try to be “too fair” to avoid even the appearance of favoritism, but it depends on the facts and relationships. Interesting rare disclosure issue, though.