The prevailing defendant in this copyright case sought an award of fees under 17 U.S.C. § 505. Judge Gilstrap’s opinion sorted through the claims and the parties’ alleged conduct in the case before finally determining the appropriateness of an award of fees, thus giving parties some guidance on when an award of fees in a copyright case is appropriate.
Judge Gilstrap granted the motion, finding the case exceptional and awarding a quarter of the costs between the first and second trial.
The court granted the defendant’s motion for exceptional case. It denied the motion for sanctions, and trimmed the post-dismissal part of the fees, eventually awarding $92,130.35.
Judge Gilstrap denied the motion, finding that the plaintiff’s opposition to a motion to stay was not objectively unreasonable, and that the petitions it filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and before the PTAB were not frivolous or filed in bad faith.
The plaintiff asserted several objections to Magistrate Judge Baxter’s award of fees, none of which Judge Schroeder agreed with. Specifically,
- yes it can be a report and recommendation,
- yes, you waived your objections to the court’s claim construction rulings,
- yes, you should have known your infringement theories were unsupported when the summary judgment report came out in the companion case, and
- yes, the case is “exceptional” – you continued to pursue theories that you knew or should have known were baseless, filed meritless motions, and argued positions that had already been rejected.
Judge Gilstrap rejected the defendant’s request for fees following a dispositive claim construction ruling.
Judge Schroeder overruled the objections to Magistrate Judge Baxter’s fee award.
Judge Payne clarified this in a recent order.
One out of three’s not … well, maybe it is. And check out the forum selection comment.
The Court concluded that it didn’t stand out, noting that the “mere fact that a court rules against a patent owner does not render a case ‘exceptional’” even where, as here, the patent was susceptible to a finding of ineligibility at the FRCP 12(c) stage.