Overzealous Defendants Ordered to Pay

The recent Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1749 (2014) case is often held out to be a victory in the fight against patent trolls or people being sued for patent infringement.  But patent trolling is turning out to be one of those things like voter fraud.  Yes it happens, but it seems that for all the hype the actual problem is nominal compared to the attention it gets.

In an interesting turn of events, in the recent case of Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., et al., the Octane Fitness decision ended up helping a patent rights holder filing suit against an infringer.

Romag Fasteners makes magnetic snaps and fasteners which were used by Fossil to manufacture handbags.   Romag owned a relevant patent and trademark.  Fossil was caught using counterfeit fasteners, some of which even carried the trademark and the patent number, and a suit followed. However, Fossil did not wish to admit to liability and put on a vigorous defense throwing everything it could at Romag.  Despite a notable fight, the simple facts were Fossil was caught “red-handed” and at the end of the case, “the Court concludes that Defendants’ pursuit of its indefiniteness invalidity defense, and its failure to formally withdraw its remaining invalidity defenses until after the close of evidence weigh in favor of an award of fees in this case.”

In other words, trying to enforce a bogus patent will result in an award of costs and fees for a defendant, and so too will raising pointless defenses that merely burden the parties and case.

Full text of opinion: Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, inc. et al D. Con. 3:10cv1827, August 14, 2014

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