Orrick secured a significant victory last week for client NVIDIA Corp., a world leader in visual computing technologies, when it obtained over $1.3 million in attorneys’ fees and costs against a patent troll, BIAX Corp.
In the last ten years, BIAX Corp. has sued more than 15 entities for infringement of its patents relating to computing systems. Many of those entities have settled BIAX’s claims. Orrick and NVIDIA did not settle. Instead, they fought BIAX’s claims for almost three years until, in February 2012, the Court granted NVIDIA’s motion for summary judgment of non-infringement. With that significant victory in hand, NVIDIA moved for its attorney’s fees under section 285 of the Patent Act. The Court granted NVIDIA’s motion, finding that BIAX had maintained the litigation in bad faith.
This ruling may represent yet another positive step in the escalating fight against patent trolls. As outlined in a recent New York Times article authored by Chief Judge Randall R. Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, trolls generally stand to gain much, and to lose little, in patent litigation suits. This calculus will change if federal courts become more willing to make trolls pay for abusive litigation. Indeed, President Obama recently announced a legislative proposal recommending that district courts be given more discretion to award attorneys’ fees as a sanction for abusive court filings.