Sanctions for filing frivolous patent lawsuit in E.D. Tex.

Applying Fifth Circuit law, the Federal Circuit found an abuse of discretion in not awarding sanctions under Rule 11 and 38 U.S.C. § 985  for what it saw as a frivolous patent lawsuit, and remanded to the Eastern District of Texas for consideration of an appropriate award.  Raylon LLC v. Complus Data Innovations (Fed. Cir. Dec. 7, 2012).  The court found that the plaintiff’s claim construction was objectively unreasonable and that the district court erred in how it weighed the plaintiff’s subjective motivation.  Only time will tell whether the case leads to a wave of sanctions motions.  The opinion is a strong reminder of the power of Rule 11 in civil litigation generally, where the Fifth Circuit has tended to focus recently on litigation conduct rather than positions taken.

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