Friday, August 14, 2009

Wedgetail v. Huddleston

This opinion provides an overview of the circumstances in which the award of attorney fees under § 285 may be appropriate. The case must be exceptional, which the court reviews for clear error, and if it is, the district court determines whether attorney fees are appropriate, which is reviewed for abuse of discretion. (p. 3; 4 (providing numerous cases as examples).) Exceptional cases may be found in the following situations: “inequitable conduct before the PTO; litigation misconduct; vexatious, unjustified, and otherwise bad faith litigation; a frivolous suit or willful infringement.” (p. 3.) The Federal Circuit also stated that the district court need not necessarily provide its reasoning for its decision regarding attorney fees. In this case, the Federal Circuit determined that the lack of reasoning was at most harmless because the conclusion (no award of attorney fees) was supported by the record. (pp. 8-9.)