Lakim Industries, Inc. v. Linzer Products Corporation, 2-12-cv-04976 (CACD April 24, 2013, Order) (Wright, J.).
Friday, April 26, 2013
Unreasonable Claim Construction Position Based on Extrinsic Evidence Warrants Award of Attorneys’ Fees
The court granted in part defendant's motion for attorneys' fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff acted in bad faith in filing and pursuing its infringement action. "The ordinary meaning of 'paint roller' is readily apparent. . . . Ignoring this, [plaintiff] persisted in its argument that 'paint roller' would be understood by a person of ordinary skill in the art to mean bare paint-retaining materials — and not a standard, commercially available roller composed of paint-retaining material affixed to a rigid inner core. This proposed construction fell dismally below the reasonableness threshold. . . . [Plaintiff] argues that its proffered construction was reasonable because it relied on its experts, especially the [inventor], as a basis for its claim construction. . . . Reliance on expert testimony may be reasonable in proffering or supporting proposed claim construction. But [plaintiff] went well beyond this. What [plaintiff] really argues is that it was reasonable to rely on extrinsic evidence in an attempt to circumvent the otherwise clear language of the [patent-in-suit]. This contention is not supported by the law."