eDekka LLC v. 3balls.com, Inc., 2-15-cv-00541 (TXED December 17, 2015, Order) (Gilstrap, J.)
Monday, December 21, 2015
Plaintiff’s Unreasonable § 101 Positions and Vexatious Litigation Strategy Justify § 285 Attorney Fees Award
The court granted defendants' motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 after the court found that plaintiff's information storage patent was invalid for lack of patentable subject matter because plaintiff's litigation position was unreasonable. "The Court notes that the [patent-in-suit] is demonstrably weak on its face, despite the initial presumptions created when this patent was issued by the PTO. . . . The [patent] claims were clearly directed toward unpatentable subject matter, and no reasonable litigant could have reasonably expected success on the merits when defending against the numerous § 101 motions filed in this case. . . . However, rather than acknowledging the inherent weaknesses of the [patent], [plaintiff] proffered completely untenable arguments to the Court throughout the § 101 briefing process and at the . . . hearing. . . . This causes the Court to question whether [plaintiff] engaged in a reasonable and thorough pre-suit investigation regarding the § 101 standard and relevant authority before filing a significant number of lawsuits. In these particular and focused circumstances, the Court identifies a clear need to advance considerations of deterrence. Accordingly, [plaintiff's] unreasonable § 101 positions support an 'exceptional' case finding."