Howmedica Osteonics Corp. v. Zimmer, Inc. et al, 2-05-cv-00897 (NJD May 23, 2018, Order) (Walls, USDJ)
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Bad Faith Patent Prosecution Supports Award of Attorney Fees Even Without Inequitable Conduct
Following summary judgment of invalidity and an appeal, the court granted defendant's motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and found that plaintiff's conduct during prosecution supported a finding that the case was exceptional. "Defendant has not proved that the patents would not have issued but for the withheld data. . . . However, the Court does take note of the withheld data for purposes of the totality-of-the-circumstances inquiry. . . . There is also evidence of intent to deceive the PTO. . . . Even if this did not constitute inequitable conduct, the Court finds that the selective disclosure of data and evasive responses provided to the Examiner are evidence of bad faith leading to a finding that this is an exceptional case. . . . Plaintiff's failure to notify the Examiner that [its expert] was an employee, rather than an independent expert, is an indication that this is an exceptional case, litigated in an unreasonable manner. . . . Presenting the declaration from [its expert] which explicitly contradicted his publications, and the failure to present the [expert's] papers themselves, are evidence of subjective bad faith leading to the conclusion that this is an exceptional case."