Addressing whether attorneys’ fees may be awarded in a patent infringement lawsuit where an accused infringer successfully invalidates claims in an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that the accused infringer is considered the “prevailing party” for purposes of 35 U.S.C. § 285, but remanded for consideration on whether fees incurred in IPR proceedings can be awarded. Dragon Intellectual Property, LLC v. DISH Network LLC, et al., Case No. 19-1283 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 22, 2020) (Moore, J.).
Defendant Not “Prevailing Party” for Purposes of Attorneys’ Fees After Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court’s denial of attorneys’ fees under § 285, finding that a defendant is not a “prevailing party” for purposes of collecting attorneys’ fees where the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed its case without prejudice and there was no final court decision designating either litigant as the prevailing party. O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc. v. Timney Triggers, LLC, Case No. 19-1134 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 13, 2020) (Hughes, J.).
Addressing issues related to the disgorgement of profits and attorneys’ fees in a trademark infringement lawsuit, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a denial of such fees and profits. Safeway Transit LLC and Aleksey Silenko v. Discount Party Bus, Inc., Party Bus MN LLC, and Adam Fernandez, Case No. 18-2990 (8th Cir. Apr. 6, 2020) (Smith, J.).
In 2000, Alex Fernandez started Party Bus MN, which was the first party-bus company in the Twin Cities region. In 2004, Fernandez formed Discount Party Bus Co., LLC (DPB). Fernandez also used the names “Rent My Party Bus” and “952 Limo Bus” in print advertising before 2008.
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated a district court’s denial of attorney’s fees, finding that voluntary dismissal with prejudice constituted a final judgment for the purposes of FRCP Rule 54(d) under Ninth Circuit law. Keith Mfg., Co. v. Butterfield, Case No. 19-1136 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 7, 2020) (Hughes, J.).
Affirming a district court’s summary judgment in favor of various defendants, including the vocal music director and parent volunteers at Burbank High School (whose competitive show choirs reportedly inspired the television series “Glee”), the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit examined issues of standing via copyright ownership and the copyright infringement defense of fair use. The Court, however, reversed the lower court’s denial of defendants’ attorneys’ fees and remanded for the calculation of an appropriate award in view of plaintiff’s “objectively unreasonable” arguments in the lawsuit. Tresóna Multimedia, LLC, v. Burbank High School Vocal Music Association, et. al., Case No. 17-56006 (9th Cir., Mar. 24, 2020) (Wardlaw, J.).