Monday, August 18, 2014

Risk That Small Businesses Will be Discouraged from Enforcing Patent Rights Vital to Their Survival Weighs in Favor of Attorneys’ Fee Award

Following a jury verdict of patent infringement liability and reasonable royalty damages of about $65,000 against two defendants, the court granted plaintiff's motion for attorneys’ fees under 28 U.S.C. § 285. "[T]his case raises special concerns regarding compensation and deterrence of patent infringement. Although snap fasteners represent a minute portion of Defendants’ costs and profits, the [patent-in-suit] is Plaintiff’s primary business asset. Thus, there is a risk that plaintiffs similar to [this plaintiff] could be discouraged from bringing claims that may garner only small awards but are nonetheless vital to the survival of their businesses where defendants, as was the case here, aggressively pursue invalidity counterclaims in an attempt to prolong litigation and exponentially increase the cost and risk of pursuing a lawsuit."

Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., et al, 3-10-cv-01827 (CTD August 14, 2014, Order) (Arterton, J.)

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