Thursday, February 2, 2017

Defendant’s Delay in Seeking Summary Judgment Warrants Denial of Attorney Fees Award Under 35 U.S.C. § 285​

Following summary judgment of laches and equitable estoppel, the court denied defendant's motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff's litigation positions were not unreasonable. "If these defenses were so obvious and irrefutable, it seems to me that Defendant would have been diligently pursing dismissal based on these defenses from the outset. Instead, Defendant included these defenses in its answer along with a plethora of other defenses, but did not file a appropriate motion. . . . If this case were as objectively unreasonable as Defendant now claims, Plaintiff’s delay in asserting infringement would have been the only discovery needed. . . . [I]t wasn’t until over two years after this case was filed, and after thousands of pages of briefing on an array of topics which proved to be unnecessary, the parties addressed the laches or estoppel issue. . . . The point is, if Plaintiff’s claims were as objectively unreasonable and 'exceptionally weak', as Defendant now claims, Defendant would have sought to have the case dismissed years ago. Instead, over a million dollars in attorneys fees were incurred by both sides while the case proceeded. The irony is that Defendant’s delay in asserting the defenses resulted in the accumulation of fees for which they now seek reimbursement."

Cooling & Applied Technology, Inc. v. Morris & Associates, Inc., 4-14-cv-00368 (ARED January 31, 2017, Order) (Wilson, USDJ)

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