Friday, December 15, 2017

Inconsistent Positions on Patent Scope Risks Attorney Fees Award

The court ordered plaintiff and its counsel to show cause why it should not be responsible for defendants' attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 after granting summary judgment that defendants did not infringe plaintiff's patents due to statements made by plaintiff during its appeal of inter partes review proceedings. "⁠[Plaintiff] argued . . . the claimed invention does not require that the server determine the second process’s online or offline status solely by checking its database at the time of the first process’s query. But [plaintiff] has repeatedly told the Federal Circuit that its claimed invention requires precisely that. Indeed, the Federal Circuit . . . went to great pains during oral argument to pin down this exact point. Having won on invalidity based on those representations, [plaintiff] cannot now take a different position for purposes of proving infringement. . . . [Plaintiff] and its counsel . . . shall show cause in writing why they should not be held liable for defendants’ attorney’s fees by virtue of this being an 'exceptional' case within the meaning of [35 U.S.C. § 285]."

Straight Path IP Group, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., 3-16-cv-03463 (CAND December 13, 2017, Order) (Alsup, USDJ)

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