Third Circuit Finds “Officer” Language To Be Ambiguous.
In Aleynikov v. The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., No. 13-4237 (3d Cir. Sept. 3, 2014) (precedential), a Goldman Sachs computer programmer with the title of “vice president” obtained a summary judgment ruling requiring Goldman Sachs to advance him attorney’s fees incurred in his defense of certain criminal actions based upon an indemnity agreement. However, the Third Circuit reversed, finding that the “officer” language in the indemnity was ambiguous and extrinsic evidence was proper to determine if computer programmer fit the bill. Mr. Aleynikov has asked for a rehearing of the appellate ruling.
U.S. District Judge Wilken Refuses to Defer Fee Ruling Under Patent Statute For Prevailing Parties Hewlett-Packard and Apple in Linex Technologies Case.
Linex Technologies, Inc. lost an infringement action involving certain spread spectrum claims as against Hewlett-Packard Co. and Apple Inc. They then brought a request for reimbursement of attorney’s fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285, claiming the case was “exceptional” for purposes of fee recovery. Linex countered that the case was not exceptional and that the fee matter should be put on hold until the Federal Circuit decided the merits appeal on the non-infringement rulings.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken disagreed in Linex Technologies, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard, Apple, et al., Case No. 4:13-cv-00159 CW (N.D. Cal. Sept. 15, 2014) (Doc. 413). She determined that the fee ruling should not be deferred because it would save time to have the Federal Circuit determine both the merits and fee rulings at the same time—avoiding piecemeal appeals. As far as whether the case was “exceptional” under the patent shifting statute, District Judge Wilken noted that Linex had lost similar rulings in two different for a and that Linex had sought to broaden the patent claims after one of the adverse rulings, notice enough that certain of the claims lacked merit. However, she directed the two fee requesting defendants to apportion attorney work on the unsuccessful claims and justify the claimed hourly rates, all to be done on a two-week schedule which she set in her order.