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Spineology, Inc. v. Wright Medical Technology, Inc.

For Exceptional Case Motion, No Need to Take Up Damages Theories Mooted By Summary Judgment

Spineology, Inc. v. Wright Medical Technology, Inc.910 F.3d 1227 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 14, 2018) (Prost, Dyk, MOORE) (D. Minn.: Ericksen) (2 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir affirms denial of Wright’s § 285 fees motion. The district court did not abuse its discretion by holding that Spineology’s claim construction positions, while rejected at summary judgment, were not so meritless as to be exceptional. The opinion declines to assess the merit of Spineology’s damages theories, particularly its lost profit theorizing. Because it disposed of the case on summary judgment, the district court did not reach the damages issues, nor was it required to do so in order to evaluate Wright’s § 285 motion. “A district court need not, as Wright seems to urge, litigate to resolution every issue mooted by summary judgment to rule on a motion for attorney fees.” Op. at 6.

The opinion also reviews Spineology’s overall litigation conduct and declines to upset the district court’s determination that it was non-exceptional. And it rejects Wright’s argument that remand is necessary for a more fulsome assessment of the totality of the circumstances. Per University of Utah, 851 F.3d 1317 (Fed. Cir. 2017), the district court had “no obligation to write an opinion that reveals its assessment of every consideration, and remand is unnecessary to obtain one.” Op. at 7.

KEYWORDS: SECTION 285; EXCEPTIONALITY; ATTORNEY FEES