In this case, Lumen sued FINDTHEBEST.COM for infringing U.S Patent 8,069,073. The ‘073 patent had claims that were directed towards facilitating procurement of delivery of products or services involving multiple classes of parties. All of the claims were directed towards a computer implemented method.
Based on the pleadings, the judge in the Southern District of New York dismissed the case reasoning that “[t]here is no inventive idea here. . . . Nothing in the ‘073 patent evinces an inventive idea beyond the idea of the patent holder to be the first to patent the computerization of a fundamental process that has occurred all through human history.”
When determining fees, using 35 U.S. Code § 285 the district court indicated that this was an exception case, and as such reasonable attorney fees should be awarded to the prevailing party. The district court reasoned that this was an exceptional case because the FINDTHEBEST.com did not infringe the ‘073 patent even based on Lumen View’s claim construction. Thus, if the most basic investigation was conducted before filing the lawsuit would have made the non-infringement clear. In further reasoning, the district court held that Lumen View was merely looking to quickly settle cases via “predatory strategy.” Based on the exceptional case under section 285, the district court doubled the reasonable attorney’s fees as deterrence.
On appeal, the Federal circuit remained the cases stating that a deterrent is not an appropriate consideration in determine the amount of reasonable attorney’s fees. However, once remanded the district court could maintain its same fee, but with a new explanation.
A HOUSTON PATENT ATTORNEY’S TAKEAWAYS:
- This case shows the dangers of baseless patent litigation. Once a party is sued, it is important to conduct an infringement analysis to determine if your product is actually infringing. If there is no way that your product actually infringes the patent, then there should be little to fear, including patent litigation.
- A lot of time clients ask me of the danger of “patent trolls” looking to sue them for baseless claims. However, most of the times this does not occur. Parties cannot bring baseless claims because there are regulations in place to deter these claims.