Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Presumption of Validity Weighs Against § 285 Fee Award

The court denied counterclaim defendants' motion for attorneys' fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 following summary judgment of invalidity because the case was not exceptional. "Ironically, this Motion may be more exceptional than what it attacks. Counterclaim Defendants primarily argue that '[counterclaim plaintiff] should have known that the [patent] is invalid,' and thus presumably should not have defended the validity of his patent or asserted counterclaims. . . . [Counterclaim plaintiff's] manner of litigating this case was not exceptionally unreasonable. It was [counterclaim defendants], not [counterclaim plaintiff], that initiated this case. . . . While true that the disputed patent claims were weak, that is, unfortunately, not exceptional. Absent a showing that something was withheld from the USPTO, a patentee should be able to rely to some degree on the USPTO’s expert views and the resulting presumption of validity."

Collectors Universe, Inc. et al v. Duane C. Blake, 8-14-cv-00333 (CACD March 16, 2015, Order) (Guilford, J.)

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