Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Meritless Invalidity and Unenforceability Claim Justifies Award of Attorney Fees

Following dismissal of plaintiff's invalidity and unenforceability claims for lack of standing and failure to state a claim, the court granted defendants' motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff's litigation positions and tactics were unreasonable. "The plaintiff should have known from the inception of this litigation that its claim in Count X [seeking a declaration of patent invalidity and unenforceability] lacked substantive and legal merit, and even if it was unaware of such deficiencies at the time it filed its complaint, there is no question that the meet-and-confer communications from the defendants before the filing of their motion to dismiss directly pointed the plaintiff to such deficiencies. Even with such awareness, the plaintiff committed to seeing the claim through to the end, in defiance of the applicable law. Not only did the plaintiff persist in its frivolous claim, but they aggressively litigated the patent issues. This required the defendants themselves to develop their own expert testimony to address patent issues which should have never been present in this case. There is no doubt that the plaintiff’s steadfast commitment to this unfounded patent claim imposed additional expenses on the opposing parties which should never have been experienced."

Technology for Energy Corporation v. Hardy et al (JRG3), 3-16-cv-00091 (TNED February 15, 2018, Order) (Greer, USDJ)

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