Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc.

Romag’s patent and trademark are directed to magnetic snap fasteners and are licensed to a Chinese manufacturer, which supplied ROMAG magnetic snaps for use in handbags manufactured and distributed by Fossil. In 2010, a batch of Fossil handbags appeared to contain counterfeit ROMAG magnetic snaps. Romag sued Fossil for patent and trademark infringement and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The Federal Circuit affirmed a verdict finding Fossil liable for patent and trademark infringement and for violation of CUTPA. Romag sought attorney’s fees under the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 285, Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1117(a), and CUTPA. The district court granted fees under the Patent Act and CUTPA, but not under the Lanham Act. The Federal Circuit vacated, first holding that the Lanham Act should have the same standard for recovering attorney’s fees as the Patent Act. In determining whether the case was exceptional under 35 U.S.C. 285, the court made several errors with respect to the “totality of the circumstances”: Fossil’s patent invalidity defenses were withdrawn before trial; the court made no finding that Fossil’s defenses of anticipation and obviousness were objectively unreasonable; in the infringement proceedings, the judge did not conclude that Fossil’s indefiniteness defense bordered on frivolous; and the court failed to consider Romag’s earlier litigation misconduct. View "Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc." on Justia Law