In Re: Bill of Lading Transmission and Processing System Patent Litigation, 1-09-md-02050 (OHSD January 24, 2017, Order) (Beckwith, USDJ)
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Plaintiff’s Use of Litigation as Fishing Expedition Justifies Attorney Fees Award Under 35 U.S.C. § 285
The court granted defendants' motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff's litigation positions were baseless and the its litigation tactics were exceptional. "[T]here is substantial reason to believe that [plaintiff] initiated this litigation to embark on a fishing expedition into Defendants' operations and proprietary customer lists for the purpose of developing direct patent infringement claims against their customers. In other words, there is substantial reason to believe that [plaintiff] did not institute this litigation for a proper purpose, but rather as a means to obtain evidence of infringement against Defendants' customers it could not otherwise obtain because it did not have a good-faith belief that Defendants' customers were actually infringing the [patent-in-suit]. Indeed . . . [plaintiff] received repeated assurances from Defendants' customers that infringement of the patent was not occurring."