Posts Tagged: "Attorneys Fees"

Rimini Street v. Oracle USA: Kavanaugh Frowns on Broad Interpretation of ‘Full Costs’ Under Copyright Act

On Monday, March 4, Justice Brett Kavanaugh issued the decision for a unanimous Supreme Court in Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle USA, Inc., which asked whether the meaning of “full costs” under 17 U.S.C. § 505 of the U.S. Copyright Act extends to damages outside of the six categories of costs that U.S. district courts can award against a losing party as outlined in 28 U.S.C. § 1821 and 28 U.S.C. § 1920. In siding with petitioner Rimini Street, the Supreme Court held that “full costs” in the copyright litigation context are limited to Sections 1821 and 1920, reversing the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision to award $12.8 million to Oracle covering litigation expenses outside of the statutory schedule of costs.

Federal Circuit: Attorneys Not Liable for Attorney’s Fees Where Law is Unsettled

A claim is entirely without color when it lacks any legal or factual basis.  Because of the relative paucity of § 101 cases between Alice and AlphaCap’s complaint, the law was unsettled.  The Federal Circuit noted that when the applicable law is unsettled, attorneys may not be sanctioned merely for making reasonable arguments for interpreting the law.  Further, the court found that Gutride presented a colorable argument that the claims were analogous to those in DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com L.P., and therefore patent eligible under § 101.

CAFC vacates $51 million fee award, exceptional case requires ‘causal connection’ to award fees

The Federal Circuit recently affirmed a district court’s “exceptional” case finding under 35 U.S.C. § 285, which resulted in Appellant Rembrandt Technologies paying attorney’s fees to Appellees, a number of communications companies.  The Court, however, vacated the fee award of $51 million and remanded for a new determination of fees. While the Federal Circuit was comfortable affirming this was an exceptional case, the panel explained that the district court award needs to establish some causal connection between the misconduct and the fee award.  See In re Rembrandt Techs. LP Patent Litig., No. 2017-1784, 2018 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 15, 2018) (Before O’Malley, Mayer, and Reyna, J.) (Opinion for the court, O’Malley, J.). 

Saving money by slashing patent attorney fees wastes every dollar

You get what you pay for, and C-level executives that play the role of bean-counter and only see that they are saving money today without any consideration of the damage they are doing long-term to their patent portfolios will wind up doing real, lasting and severe damage to their corporations. It is just that simple. The Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit have simply created too many impediments to obtaining and keeping a patent to justify the expense of spending any part of a budget on anything other than a patent that is done properly. So, you might think you are saving money by slashing patent attorneys fees yet again this year, but what you are doing is wasting every dollar you spend.

Working Out with Octane Fitness: Four Years Later

On February 2, 2018, in Sophos Inc. v. RPost Holding, Inc., Judge Denise Casper became the latest judge to declare a case “exceptional” under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and award the declaratory judgment plaintiff, Sophos, the opportunity to recover its attorneys’ fees.  The court’s decision in Sophos comes as the four year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Octane Fitness v. ICON Health & Fitness rapidly approaches.  After Octane Fitness, many predicted a large uptick in the number of fee-shifting motions filed and their success rate in patent cases.  This article explores the fallout from Octane Fitness after four years on the books and any trends that have emerged in the courts.

ABA asks Federal Circuit to reverse panel’s decision awarding lawyer fees in patent appeal cases

The American Bar Association filed an amicus brief today with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, arguing that a provision of U.S. patent law does not give the government the right to be reimbursed for its lawyers’ expenses regardless of which side prevails in a court appeal of an administrative patent decision… The Federal Circuit split 2-1 in determining that the language approved by Congress includes lawyer fees for the USPTO win or lose. The ABA’s amicus brief supports the petition by Nantkwest Inc., which owns the cancer treatment patent application in question, and asks the full Federal Circuit to reverse that decision.

Bed Bath and Beyond Wins Nearly $1 Million in Attorneys’ Fees for Defending Meritless Claims

In Inventor Holdings, LLC v. Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc., the Federal Circuit affirmed an award of attorneys’ fees in the lower court because “following the Alice decision, IH’s claims were objectively without merit.”  Alice issued two months after the filing of suit.

CAFC says Attorney’s Fees are an Equitable Remedy Not Subject to Right to a Jury Trial

Avid sought fees as a prevailing party under § 285, and therefore the attorney’s fees in this action were properly characterized as an equitable remedy, properly decided by a judge. AIA argued that when an award of attorney’s fees is based in part or in whole on a party’s state of mind, intent, or culpability, only a jury may decide those issues. The Court rejected this argument because AIA provided no cases holding that once an issue is deemed equitable, a Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial may still attach to certain underlying determinations.

Octane Standard for Attorney’s Fees Applies to Lanham Act and Patent Act Cases

In mag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., Romag sued Fossil for patent and trademark infringement and a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”) after one batch of Fossil’s handbags appeared to have counterfeit magnetic snaps. The jury found Fossil liable for patent and trademark infringement and for violating the CUTPA. The Federal Circuit affirmed the patent and trademark infringement verdicts. After that appeal, Romag sought attorney’s fees under the Patent Act, Lanham Act, and the CUTPA. The district court awarded attorney’s fees under all but the Lanham Act… The Supreme Court’s “objectively unreasonable” standard for attorney’s fees set forth in Octane applies to infringement cases under the Lanham Act and the Patent Act. In attorney’s fee disputes, courts must consider the totality of the circumstances, including the conduct of both parties.

CAFC Reverses and Remands Attorney’s Fees Issue in Newegg’s Favor

The district court made clearly erroneous factual findings that independently supported reversal. Particularly, the record supported a finding that this case was exceptional given the weakness of AdjustaCam’s litigating position. The evidence offered by AdjustaCam showed that its lawsuit was baseless. However, the district court instead found that AdjustaCam’s litigation position was not exceptional because Newegg’s ball-and-socket products were constrained in such a way that AdjustaCam could reasonably argue that it rotated on a single axis, consistent with the original district judge’s Markman order. But the Court pointed out that AdjustaCam never advanced this argument.

PTAB Appellants Must Pay USPTO’s Attorneys’ Fees Regardless of Outcome of Appeal

In Nantkwest v. Matal, the Federal Circuit reversed the Eastern District of Virginia’s denial of the USPTO’s request for attorneys’ fees in connection with Nantkwest’s district court appeal of the PTAB rejection of its patent application. At issue was the correct interpretation of Section 145 of the Patent Act, namely the language “[a]ll of the expenses of the proceeding.” The Court held that Section 145 of the Patent Act requires the appellant to pay the USPTO’s attorneys’ fees, regardless of the outcome of the case.

Arbitrator’s ‘interpretation’ of unconscionable fee agreement gives Jenner & Block millions in unearned contingency fees

Oracle and Parallel Networks settled that arbitration in January 2013. So, more than four years after Jenner & Block lost the Oracle case and abandoned its client, they received nearly $500,000 in additional contingency fees from Parallel Network’s settlement with Oracle – despite the fact that they were not representing Parallel Networks when this January 2013 settlement with Oracle was negotiated and concluded (in point of fact, in January 2013 Jenner & Block was suing Parallel Networks in arbitration). While arbitrator Jerry Grissom’s rationale for awarding millions of dollars to Jenner & Block in contingency fees under his “interpretation” of the CFA is absurd, his acceptance of Jenner & Block’s “just cause” excuse which allowed Jenner & Block to abandon Parallel Networks and still retain a right to get paid, is truly bizarre.

Federal Circuit Reverses and Remands District Court’s Refusal to Award Attorney Fees

Rothschild sued ADS for patent infringement of Rothschild’s patent related to a home security system. The district court granted Rothschild’s motion to dismiss and denied ADS’s cross-motion for attorney fees, finding that Rothschild did not engage in conduct sufficient to make the action exceptional under 35 U.S.C. § 285. ADS appealed, and the Court reversed and remanded. The Court found that the district court abused its discretion citing three reasons.

Federal Circuit Reverses Grant of Attorney Fees; Case Not Exceptional Under 35 U.S.C. § 285

In the Federal Circuit case of Checkpoint Systems v. All-Tag Sec, The Federal Circuit held that the district court erred in finding this case exceptional under 35 U.S.C. § 285, and it reversed its award of attorney fees to the defendants. The record showed that the plaintiff’s charge of infringement was reasonable and the litigation was not abusive or brought in bad faith.

Money For Nothing: An arbitrator awards Jenner & Block millions for losing case, abandoning its client

Jenner & Block’s demand in the arbitration was for more than $10.2 million in hourly fees, which amounted to more than 70% of the net recovery obtained by Parallel Networks in the Oracle case and more than 110% of the net recovery obtained by Parallel Networks in the QuinStreet case. Jenner & Block justified this extraordinary amount by claiming that it had expended more than 24,000 billable hours in the Delaware Cases during the 18 months that it had represented Parallel Networks. Accepting Jenner & Block’s claim at face value would mean that Jenner & Block attorneys were purportedly billing Parallel Networks at a rate of nearly 44 hours per day, seven days a week, 365 days per year for the entire 18 months period of the representation. This was a rather startling claim given that the Oracle case was lost at the summary judgement stage and that the QuinStreet case never progressed much beyond the discovery phase.