08-09-2011, 06:41 PM
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Appeals court turns tables on patent troll plaintiff and lawyers
Sometimes the system actually pulls off something that makes a bit of sense.
Patent Troll Lawyers Smacked Down, Made To Pay Sanctions, For Mass Lawsuits Followed By Quick Settlement Offers | Techdirt
dwg points us to a fascinating ruling by CAFC in EON-NET LP v. FLAGSTAR BANCORP, in which CAFC (who generally sides with patent holders) not only went against a patent troll, but also actually smacked the lawyers down with fairly large Rule 11 sanctions for filing a bogus lawsuit, where the intent appeared to only be to get a company to pay up. This ruling could become an interesting precedent not just in patent cases, but potentially in copyright trolling cases as well. The court points out that Eon-Net had filed over 100 patent infringement lawsuits, following up each one quickly with an offer of settlement. In this particular case, it was clear that Flagstar did not infringe on the patents in question.
While the court found a variety of misconducts (including document destruction), where this ruling becomes potentially very damaging for all sorts of trolls -- both copyright and patent trolls alike -- is in the finding of "baseless litigation in bad faith." . . .
In the end, the court agreed and allowed the district court's award of $141,984.70 for Rule 11 violations and another $489,150.48 in attorneys' fees. The law firms rushing around to file patent and copyright trolling lawsuits in the hopes of getting quick settlements may want to take notice.
I love irony.
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