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Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Trend Micro Inc.

Exceptionality Inquiry Addresses Entire Case, Not an “Exceptional Portion of a Case”

Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Trend Micro Inc., __ F.3d __, 2019 WL ___ (Fed. Cir. Dec. 19, 2019) (Dyk, Taranto, STOLL) (D. Del.: Stark) (3 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir vacates § 285 exceptionality determination and award of attorney fees. The district court abused its discretion by committing legal error when it focused on a particular incident (a change in testimony by Intellectual Ventures’s expert at trial) rather than placing it in context and evaluating the case as a whole. “[T]he district court in this case should have determined whether the circumstances surrounding the expert’s changed opinion were such that, when considered as part of the totality of circumstances in the case, the case stands out as exceptional.” Op. at 6. The opinion rejects Intellectual Ventures’s contention that a single act could never support an exceptionality determination. In the right circumstances, and under the right analysis, it might.

KEYWORDS: EXCEPTIONAL CASE; SECTION 285; ATTORNEY FEES