Judge Sue L. Robinson recently reconsidered an earlier decision (discussed here) to defer ruling on a motion for attorneys’ fees filed by defendants. Walker Digital, LLC v. Expedia, Inc., et al., Civ. No. 11-313-SLR (D. Del. Oct. 25, 2013); Walker Digital, LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc., Civ. No. 12-140-SLR (D. Del. Oct. 25, 2013); Walker Digital, LLC v. Barnes & Noble, Inc., Civ. No. 12-141-SLR (D. Del. Oct. 25, 2013); Walker Digital, LLC v. Expedia, Inc., Civ. No. 12-142-SLR (D. Del. Oct. 25, 2013). Judge Robinson addressed the merits of the motion and denied it, finding that the defendants did not prevail on the merits for purposes of § 285, but instead had their cases dismissed “based on business arrangements . . . and the resulting consequences of such” after the plaintiff assigned its patents to eBay as part of a settlement. Moreover, Judge Robinson found that the case was not exceptional despite that the plaintiff continued litigating long after assigning the patents away, explaining “[t]he eBay settlement agreement was complex and negotiated in the midst of litigation. The attorneys involved in the litigation were not involved in these negotiations . . . With arguably valuable property rights at stake, it is not surprising that plaintiff chose to have the court resolve the dispute rather than amicably resolve such with defendants.”
Judge Robinson next clarified that the earlier dismissal of the cases (discussed here) for lack of standing was with prejudice. The plaintiff argued that it had not had sufficient opportunity to cure the standing defect, but the Court disagreed, explaining that in its opposition to the motions to dismiss, “plaintiff has offered no evidence that it has a plan to cure the standing defect, stating only that it ‘has been and currently is engaged in continued discussions with eBay regarding ownership of the patents-in-suit.’” Therefore, the Court (by way of clarification for appeal) confirmed that its earlier dismissal was with prejudice.