Netflix – Attempting to Change Patent Law to Deter Frivolous Litigation

September 2, 2010

Much has been written about a request by Netflix for rehearing en banc by the Federal Circuit.  Netflix would like to be reheard en banc regarding the recent denial of their request for attorneys fees incurred defending a patent claim (2010 WL 1293379). 

Netflix and BlockBuster among others were sued by Media Queue for supposed patent infringement.  The Northern District of California granted summary judgment for Netflix

However the US District Court also denied the request by Netflix for over $1,000,000 in attorneys fees.  Netflix appealed this decision to the Federal Circuit, and after the Federal Circuit at first sided with Media Queue, Netflix has moved for rehearing en banc (672 F.Supp.2d 1022). 

Netflix would like the court to adopt a more liberal standard for awarding attorneys fees, it is hoped that this will act as a deterrent to future baseless patent claims.  Netflix would have the courts apply an “objectively reckless” standard for awarding attorneys fees.

Depending on what the Federal Circuit decides to do with this case, it could end up being very important precedent.  You can set up a Docket Alert to track developments in this case with the docket number 10-1199.

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