Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

35 U.S.C. § 285 vs. Inherent Power Sanctions

From Funai Elec. Co. v. Daewoo Elecs., 593 F. Supp. 2d 1088 (N.D. Cal. 2009):

Expert witness fees are not available under § 285 but may be awarded under the Court's inherent power to sanction fraud or abuse of the judicial process. See Amsted Industries Inc. v. Buckeye Steel Castings Co., 23 F.3d 374, 377-78 (Fed. Cir. 1994).


The Court declines to award expert witness fees under its inherent power because the conduct that Funai complains of does not rise to the level of fraud or abuse of the judicial process.

Compare our posting of December 17, 2008 (Federal Circuit cautioning that “[r]outine use of inherent authority to impose sanctions in addition to those authorized by applicable statutes risks contravening Congress's judgment as to what sanctions are appropriate for particular misconduct”). See also our post of March 4, 2010 (District of Nebraska: "Not every case qualifying as exceptional under 35 U.S.C. § 285 will qualify for sanctions under the court's inherent power").

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