By Memorandum Order entered by The Honorable Leonard P. Stark in Reckitt Benckiser LLC v. Aurobindo Pharma Limited et al., Civil Action No. 14-1203-LP (D.Del. October 16, 2017), the Court denied Defendants motion for attorneys’ fees and expenses under 35 U.S.C. § 285. 35 U.S.C. § 285 provides that, in “exceptional” patent cases, a Court may award “reasonable attorney fees” to the “prevailing party.” “An exceptional case under § 285 is ‘simply one that stands out from others with respect to the substantive strength of a party’s litigating position (considering both the governing law and the facts of the case) or the unreasonable manner in which the case was litigated.” Nova Chems. Corp. (Canada) v. Dow Chem. Co., 856 F.3d 1012, 1016 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (quoting Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Healthy & Fitness, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1749, 1756 (2014)).
In the instant action, following claim construction, the Court allowed Defendants to file a motion for summary judgment of non-infringement. Reckitt Benckiser LLC at *1. After full briefing and a hearing, the Court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment of non-infringement finding that “no reasonable factfinder could find that [Defendants’] proposed ANDA product contains two distinct formulations, as required by the asserted claims.” Id. Defendants thereafter sought attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 contending the case was “exceptional.” Id. at *2.
In considering the motion for attorneys’ fees, the Court noted as follows:
In one way, this case stands out from others: it is an ANDA case that was resolved on summary judgment, a rare occurrence in this Court, which often does not allow summary judgment motions to be filed in an ANDA case. But this fact alone does not make this case per se “exceptional.” That the nature of the narrow dispute presented by the parties turned out to be amenable to summary judgment does not inevitably correlate to an exceptionally weak substantive position or an unreasonable manner of litigation. Id. at *3.
Ultimately, after concluding the totality of the circumstances, the Court concluded that the factors weighing against finding the case exceptional outweighed those in favor. Id. at *7. Accordingly, the Court exercised its discretion to deny the request for attorneys’ fees. Id. at *8.
A copy of the Memorandum Order is attached.