Federal Circuit Affirms Exceptional Case Finding And Award Of Attorneys’ Fees
On October 14, 2021, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the decision of the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota awarding attorneys’ fees on remand after it had previously found a patent unenforceable due to inequitable conduct. Energy Heating, LLC v. Heat On-The-Fly, LLC, __ F.4th __ (Fed. Cir. Oct. 14, 2021).
Judge Alsup Partially Grants Section 285 Request For Attorneys’ Fees Due To Exceptional Nature Of Case, Lamenting “Standard Patent BS By Bought-And-Paid-For Experts”
On January 9, 2021, Judge Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted, in part, a request for attorneys’ fees to the prevailing defendant. Finjan, Inc. v. Juniper Network, Inc., case no. C 17-05659 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 9, 2021). Judge Alsup found that plaintiff’s case stood out as exceptional in certain respects and, accordingly, issued a limited award for attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285.
Federal Circuit Reverses Fees Award For Failure To Meet The Threshold For Exceptional Case
On June 8, 2020, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed an order of the United States District Court for the Central District of California (CDCA) awarding fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). Munchkin, Inc. v. Luv N’ Care, Ltd., No. 2019-1454, __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. Jun. 8, 2020). The CAFC found that the CDCA abused its discretion because the facts relied upon by the movant did not support a determination that plaintiff acted unreasonably in bringing and maintaining its case.
Federal Circuit Affirms District Court Exceptional Case Finding Under Section 285
On May 1, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) issued an opinion affirming a grant of attorney’s fees and costs under 35 U.S.C. § 285 by the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. Thermolife Int’l LLC et al. v. GNC Corp. et al., __ F.3d__ (Fed. Cir. May 1, 2019). The CAFC ruled that the district court had correctly decided that the (consolidated) cases were exceptional under § 285 because plaintiffs failed to conduct an adequate pre-filing investigation and because they engaged in a pattern of bringing suit against numerous defendants without carefully reviewing their claims.