Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Plaintiff’s Success in Related Litigation Undermines Defendant’s Attorneys’ Fee Request

Following summary judgment, the court denied defendant's motion for attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285. "Defendants argue that [plaintiff] knew or should have known that Court’s First Claim Construction Order was dispositive of all of [plaintiff's] infringement theories. Therefore, Defendants argue that [plaintiff's] decision to continue litigation in the district court rather than enter into a stipulated judgment and seek appeal to the Federal Circuit renders this an 'exceptional' case. Defendants offer somewhat probative circumstantial evidence suggesting that [plaintiff's] motive was only to delay the impact of the Court’s order on its related litigation over this patent in other districts. . . . Patent litigants often disagree about whether a plaintiff has viable infringement contentions after an adverse claim construction, and one side is usually wrong. . . . Moreover, [plaintiff] achieved favorable results in other litigation over the [patent-in-suit] even after the courts in those cases construed the 'transferring . . . if' terms the same way this Court did. While Defendants point out valid distinctions between those cases and this one, this fact makes it difficult for the Court to conclude that it was 'extraordinary' for [plaintiff] to continue to pursue its infringement allegations after claim construction. This presents a very close case."

EON Corp IP Holdings LLC v. Sensus USA Inc., et al, 3-12-cv-01011 (CAND July 25, 2014, Order) (Tigar, J.)

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