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."

Lakim Industries, Inc. v. Linzer Products Corporation, 2-12-cv-04976 (CACD April 24, 2013, Order) (Wright, J.).

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