Monday, June 8, 2015

Patent Owner's Failure to Consult Inventor Prior to Asserting Infringement No Basis for Attorney Fee Award

The court denied plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and rejected plaintiff's argument that defendant's infringement claim was baseless because it failed to contact the inventor before filing suit. "[Plaintiff's] argument on this basis relies in large part on [defendant's] failure to contact and interview . . . the inventor of the [patent-in-suit] until after it had threatened [plaintiff] with litigation. . . . [The inventor] ultimately rendered an opinion that [plaintiff's] product did not infringe on [defendant's] patent. . . . [The inventor's] interpretation of the [patent] is undoubtedly entitled to weight, but [he] is not a patent attorney or even an attorney. . . . [Plaintiff] does not cite any authority demonstrating that [defendant] was required to solicit the interpretation of the patent's inventor before initiating a patent infringement claim, nor is this Court willing to impose such a stringent requirement on patent holders."

Sport Dimension, Inc. v. The Coleman Company, Inc., 2-14-cv-00438 (CACD June 4, 2015, Order) (O'Connell, J.)

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