Thursday, March 12, 2015

Plaintiff’s Desire for “Payback” and Litigation Abuse Warrant Fee Award Under § 285

The court granted defendant's motion for attorneys' fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 following jury and bench trials because of the lack of strength of plaintiff's case and its litigation tactics. "[E]vidence at trial showed that this litigation was at least in part motivated by Plaintiff’s desire for 'payback' for Defendant’s successful competition in the marketplace. . . . [I]nformation regarding Plaintiff’s marking policies, procedures, and practices was uniquely in Plaintiff’s possession, but Plaintiff either did not adequately review this material before filing suit, or filed suit knowing that it had not complied with the marking requirement. Plaintiff compounded this by engaging in gamesmanship that made it hard to discover and prove the marking failure. . . . The substantive and procedural problems concerning the [patent-in-suit] are particularly troublesome in this case because, due to the patent’s expiration, there was no case at all on the [patent] absent compliance with the marking requirement."

Universal Electronics Inc. v. Universal Remote Control Inc., 8-12-cv-00329 (CACD March 10, 2015, Order) (Guilford, J.)

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