Monday, October 27, 2014

Bad Faith Infringement Suit Warrants Doubling of Attorneys’ Fee Award

Following judgment on the pleadings that plaintiff's decision-making patent was invalid as claiming unpatentable subject matter, the court granted defendant's motion for attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and doubled the amount of attorneys' fees as a deterrent. "While the primary goal of Section 285 is to compensate parties who have been forced to defend against frivolous and unwarranted suits, it also serves as a deterrent against such litigation. The instigation of a lawsuit brought in bad faith against a defendant causes a severe injury to the defendant that cannot fully be compensated. . . . This litigation was resolved on the merits because this defendant has the financial ability to resist the plaintiff’s pressure and because it chose to fund a defense in court rather than pay an unwarranted, less expensive licensing fee. It appears that none of the other defendants sued by [plaintiff] made that choice. As a result, but for [defendant's] financial resources and resolve, [plaintiff's] predatory behavior would likely have proceeded unchecked. Any award in this action must be substantial enough to deter [plaintiff] from pursuing baseless claims in the manner [plaintiff] used in this case."

Lumen View Technology LLC v., Inc., 1-13-cv-03599 (NYSD October 23, 2014, Order) (Cote, J.)

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