Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Plaintiff's Track Record of Nuisance Value Settlements Supports Exceptional Case Finding and Award of Attorneys' Fees to Successful Defendant

Defendant's motion for attorneys' fees under § 285 was granted. "[Plaintiff] has a history of filing nearly identical patent infringement complaints against a plethora of diverse defendants. . . . In each case, according to [defendant], the complaint has been followed with a demand for quick settlement at a price far lower than the cost of litigation, a demand to which most defendants apparently have agreed. . . . Firm in the belief that [plaintiff's] claim of infringement was baseless, and that the lawsuit was filed for the improper purpose of collecting a nuisance settlement, [defendant] alone chose to litigate rather than settle. In so doing, [defendant] has incurred significant expense for the four years of litigation, far beyond what it would have paid to settle. [Defendant's] refusal to agree to the settlement demand for what it legitimately believed was a bad faith claim of infringement further supports a finding that this case is 'exceptional' . . . It would be a gross injustice to [defendant] to require it to bear the expense of defending against the baseless lawsuit, one that was filed in bad faith for the sole purpose of inducing defendant to settle without questioning the patent itself or its validity. An award of attorney’s fees pursuant to § 285 is therefore appropriate."

Eon-Net LP v. Flagstar Bancorp, 2-05-cv-02129 (WAWD January 4, 2010, Order) (Martinez, J.)

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