Judge Robinson Grants Motion for Attorneys’ Fees
April 28, 2016
Publication| Intellectual Property
In Joao Bock Transaction Systems, LLC v. Jack Henry & Associates, Inc., C.A. No. 12-1138-SLR (D. Del. Mar. 31, 2016), Judge Robinson granted the defendant’s motion for attorneys’ fees but denied its motion for supplemental attorneys’ fees (including appeal-related fees), finding the case exceptional under Section 285. The plaintiff asserted claims against the defendant for direct infringement of one patent, to which the defendant asserted counterclaims for declaratory judgment of invalidity. The defendant’s motion for summary judgment of invalidity and non-infringement was granted, and judgment was entered in its favor. Judge Robinson stated that the posture of the case “stands out from other cases” and highlighted the following: (1) the plaintiff moved to dismiss the defendant’s counterclaims and defenses, which were sufficiently pled; (2) the plaintiff asserted a substantial number of accused products (and delayed in narrowing the field for over a year); (3) the plaintiff “turned the principles of claim construction on their head” during claim construction; and (4) the plaintiff lacked a coherent infringement theory, as “evidenced by its shifting infringement positions.” Judge Robinson concluded “[t]hat defendant’s motion for invalidity was granted on the § 101 issue does not negate the ‘exceptional’ nature of the case, when the record indicates that plaintiff pursued litigation so inefficiently as to be objectively unreasonable and burdensome for defendant and the court.” Judge Robinson found fees from $215 to $450 for attorneys and $110 to $175 for paralegal, clerk and litigation support reasonable, and awarded a total of $1,000,000 in attorneys’ fees.
Analysis: This decision presents a rare case where Judge Robinson ordered payment of attorneys’ fees.