Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Plaintiff’s Pre-Trial Settlement With 58 Defendants Did Not Justify Attorneys’ Fee Award

The court denied defendants' motion for attorneys' fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 after plaintiff settled with all 58 defendants before trial. "[Defendants argue [plaintiff] filed this action to obtain nuisance value settlements, as evidenced by its settlements with other parties to this action for amounts far less than the cost of litigation to encourage quick settlements. . . . While the smaller settlements suggest this case was a settlement driven case, [plaintiff] noted that its damage model for many of the defendants was small. . . . While practically speaking a plaintiff may not choose to file a patent infringement lawsuit when the damages are small, there is no minimum damages requirement to bring such a case. Here, there is no other evidence that [plaintiff] was merely exploiting the high cost of defending a patent case to obtain a nuisance value settlement, therefore [plaintiff] did not act in bad faith in bringing this action. . . . The Court notes that it seriously considers when a Defendant alleges a case was merely brought as a nuisance lawsuit, and will not hesitate to award attorney fees if the facts support doing so. However, in this case, the facts did not support such an award."

Adjustacam LLC v., Inc., et. al., 6-10-cv-00329 (TXED August 19, 2013, Order) (Davis, J.).

No comments: