CHRONOLOGY of THE RELEVANT EVENTS
1. 13 November 2017: citizens and residents of the Russian Federation Vitaly Pilkin (plaintiff 1) and Vladimir Miroshnichenko (plaintiff 2 who died 23 April 2018) doing as plaintiffs pro se filed the complaint for damages and declaratory judgments with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, Sony Corporation, Hogan Lovells US LLP and the US Department of Justice.
2. February 6, 2018: US District Judge Randolph D. Moss (RDM) made Standing Order on the matter.
3. April 4, 2018: the Court ordered to dismiss this action against the US Department of Justice.
4. April 5, 2018: the Court ordered that the plaintiffs’ complaint does not comply with Rule 8 and noted that plaintiffs may file an amended complaint that satisfied the requirements of Rule 8 on or before April 30, 2018.
5. April 13, 2018: the Court served the plaintiffs’ complaint on Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC and Hogan Lovells US LLP.
6. 23 April 2018: plaintiff 2 died.
7. May 1, 2018: plaintiff 1 filed the amended complaint in accordance with the Court order dated April 5, 2018.
8. May 1, 2018: plaintiff 1 filed a statement noting the party’s death.
9. May 9, 2018: counsels of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC and Hogan Lovells US LLP filed their notice of appearance.
10. May 10, 2018: pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) plaintiff 1 filed motion for the appointment of counsel.
11. May 16, 2018: the served defendants filed their opposition to plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel.
12. May 17, 2018: the Court ordered to deny plaintiff’s motion to appoint counsel without prejudice.
13. May 29, 2018: plaintiff 1 filed the motion to disqualify counsel of Hogan Lovells.
14. June 1, 2018: served defendants filed their motions to dismiss plaintiff’s amended complaint filed May 1, 2018.
15. June 4, 2018: pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) plaintiff 1 filed one more motion for the appointment of counsel.
16. June 7, 2018: Hogan Lovells filed its opposition to plaintiff’s motion to disqualify Hogan Lovells’ counsel.
17. June 21, 2018: plaintiff filed contested motion for leave to file second amended complaint (with attached second amended complaint).
18. June 26, 2018: served defendants filed their joint opposition to plaintiff’s motion for leave to file second amended complaint.
19. June 27, 2018: plaintiff filed opposition to served defendants’ motions to dismiss.
20. July 17, 2018: served defendants filed their reply memorandum in support defendants’ motions to dismiss.
21. July 18, 2018: plaintiff filed motion to extend deadline for filing motion for substitution of the proper party.
22. July 20, 2018: the Court granted plaintiff’s motion to extend deadline for filing motion for substitution of the proper party.
23. October 25, 2018: plaintiff filed motion for substitution of the proper party (the notary issued certificate of the right on inheritance which officially testifies that plaintiff 1 inherited all exclusive rights of plaintiff 2 to the results of intellectual activity, including the right of plaintiff 2 to restore the Russian patent on the invention and exclusive right of plaintiff 2 to the Russian patent within the period of validity of said patent in case of its restoration).
24. January 9, 2019: the Court ordered to deny plaintiff’s motion to disqualify Hogan Lovell’s counsel.
25. January 11, 2019: the Court ordered that plaintiff serve process on Sony Corporation on or before February 1, 2019.
26. January 16, 2019: the Court ordered that defendant Sony Interactive Entertainment’s motion to dismiss is granted (lack of personal jurisdiction).
27. January 17, 2019: plaintiff showed good cause for plaintiff’s failure to serve process on Sony Corporation in Japan (pursuant to Article 3 of the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters).
28. February 13, 2019: the Court ordered that the Clerk shall effectuate service on defendant Sony Corporation pursuant to Article 5 of the Hague Service Convention.
29. February 14, 2019: the Court ordered (1) to grant plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend second amended complaint and to file it, (2) to deny Hogan Lovells’ motion to dismiss without prejudice as premature, (3) Hogan Lovells’ time to answer or otherwise respond to the second amended complaint is extended until 21 days after Sony Corporation either appears in this action or moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
30. August 2, 2019: Upon consideration of plaintiff Vitaly Pilkin's motion to substitute himself for plaintiff Vladimir Miroshnichenko, who passed away in April of 2018, the Court concluded that Pilkin as the executor of Miroshnichenko's will shall hereby be substituted for Miroshnichenko as the plaintiff in this matter and ordered that plaintiff Vitaly Pilkin's motion is granted.
31. August 27, 2019: the Clerk’s Office requested that the Clerk mail a copy of the summons and complaint to Sony Corporation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1608(a)(3).
32. September 2, 2019: the summons and complaint were delivered to the Japan’s central authority.
33. February 18, 2020: by filing the Minute Order the Court ordered: “Sony Corporation has not appeared in this matter to date. In light of this, it is hereby ORDERED that, on or before March 18, 2020, Plaintiff and Defendant Hogan Lovells shall each file a status report addressing the following questions: (1) Does either party have knowledge concerning whether Defendant Sony Corporation has received service? (2) Was the service on Sony Corporation described sufficient? (3) Should service on Sony Corporation be attempted again? (4) Is Sony Corporation an indispensable party in this litigation or would dropping Sony Corporation as a Defendant prejudice the parties such that Sony Corporation's removal would be inappropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21 and In re Lorazepam & Clorazepate Antitrust Litig., 631 F.3d 537, 542 (D.C. Cir. 2011)?”
34. March 4, 2020: Plaintiff filed Status Report and supporting attachments, wherein Plaintiff shows the following: (i) the service of judicial documents on Defendant Sony Corporation cannot be deemed as proved; (ii) the service of judicial documents on Defendant Sony Corporation cannot be deemed as sufficient; (iii) the service on Defendant Sony Corporation should be made again; (iv) Defendant Sony Corporation is an indispensable party in this litigation; (v) if, within 21 days after the Court will serve judicial documents on Defendant Sony Corporation, Sony Corporation will not respond, then, a judgment by default must be entered against Defendant Sony Corporation for the relief demanded in the complaint.
35. March 17, 2020: Defendant Hogan Lovells filed Status Report, wherein it answered the questions put in the Minute Order dated February 18, 2020.
36. April 17, 2020: by filing the Minute Order the Court ordered that the Clerck of Court make a second attempt to effectuate service upon Defendant Sony Corporation in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4, Article 3 of the Hague Service Convention, and the specifications of Japan's central authority.