A federal court in Delaware held Sept. 12 that “Chalumeau
filed a frivolous lawsuit with the sole purpose of extorting a
settlement fee.” The court said “Chalumeau’s entire litigation
strategy was devoted to stringing out the case in the hopes that
Alcatel would incur fees while Chalumeau would not. Chalumeau
did not even disclose an expert until Nov. 8, 2013, days before
fact discovery ended.”
The behavior of Chalumeau, owned by Acacia Research Corp.,
allowed it “to keep its costs low while forcing Alcatel to
spend considerable sums defending a frivolous lawsuit,” the
As a result, the judge awarded attorneys’ fees to Alcatel,
which was represented by Goodwin Procter LLP.
The court relied on the U.S. Supreme Court, which in April
held that companies which successfully fight off
“unreasonable” patent suits can get their legal fees paid.
The high court April 29 gave trial judges more power to
impose fees if they determine a case “stands out from others”
in the conduct of the losing party. In a related opinion, the
court limited the ability of an appeals court to overturn a
trial judge’s decision in such cases.
Brian Farnan, one of the lawyers listed on the docket as
representing Chalumeau, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking
comment on the fee ruling.
The case is Chalumeau Power Systems LLC v. Alcatel-Lucent,
11-cv-01175, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware
(Wilmington). The high court cases are Octane Fitness v. Icon
Health Fitness, 12-1184, and Highmark v. Allcare Health
Management Systems, 12-1163, U.S. Supreme Court (Washington).
CBS Loses Texas Trial in Personal Audio Patent-Infringement Case
Personal Audio claimed the network infringed its patent for
distributing media content. A jury agreed and awarded it a total
of $1.3 million.
“The decision was faulty and we plan to appeal,” Shannon
Jacobs, a CBS spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.
Personal Audio lawyer Jeremy Pitcock said he was satisfied
with the verdict.
The case is Personal Audio LLC v. Togi Entertainment Inc.,
2:13-cv-00013, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
For more patent news, click here.
Independent Scotland Would Need New IP Laws, Attorney Group Says
If voters approve today’s referendum on Scottish
independence, intellectual-property law is yet another part of
the country’s economy that would be upended, according to the
Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.
Current laws cover the U.K as well as the European Union,
but would no longer cover Scotland, the institute said yesterday
in a statement. The country would need new laws “to protect
long-standing Scottish brands from counterfeiting and
imitation,” it said.
“For a modern, successful future, Scotland needs more
detailed options on how the law would make provision for IP
rights under independence,” Chris McLeod, president of ITMA,
said in the statement.
“Within Scotland itself, iconic brands such as McVitie’s,
Johnny Walker, House of Fraser or Lipton tea could lose their
brand protection in the country from which they originated,”
McLeod said. “Many of the long-established independent whiskey
distilleries could also be under threat from imitation.”
For more trademark news, click here. For copyright news, click
In the News
House Judiciary Committee Approves Trade-Secrets Legislation
The House Judiciary Committee yesterday approved H.R. 5233,
the Trade Secrets Protection Act. The bipartisan bill would
amend the Economic Espionage of 1996 to create a federal right
of action for trade-secret misappropriation.
“While current federal law protects other forms of
intellectual property by providing access to federal courts for
aggrieved parties to seek redress, there is no federal option to
do so for trade-secret theft,” committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, along with representatives John Conyers, Howard Coble, Jerrold Nadler and George Holding, said yesterday in a
The congressmen said the bipartisan bill will allow
companies to “seek civil penalties in order to protect their
businesses from those engaging in economic espionage.”
If the bill is not taken up by the House before the
election break, it could be considered when Congress reconvenes
following this year’s elections.
The Senate separately is considering the Defend Trade
Secrets Act of 2014.
Occupy Wall Street Sues One of Its Own Over Twitter Account
It seems so competitive, but OWS Media Group, Inc., which
claims to own the Twitter account @OccupyWallStNYC, has sued
Justin Wedes, one of the protesters who had access to the
OWS said Wedes converted the account by changing the
password, locking out others and using it to air his own views.
According to the complaint, Wedes “seized the Twitter
account and appropriated it to his own use.” He did so because
“he was unhappy with some of the content of the speech that was
being disseminated,” OWS said.
The suit seeks injunctive relief and $500,000 in damages.
Efforts to reach Wedes were unsuccessful.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Ellen Rosen in New York