April 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 108

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Sanctions Imposed Against Litigant for “Abusive” Litigation Conduct

In Arunachalam v. International Business Machines Corp., the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s order imposing sanctions against plaintiff and patent owner, Dr. Arunachalam.

Dr. Arunachalam sued IBM, SAP, and JPMorgan Chase (Appellees) for alleged patent infringement and violations of racketeering laws. The district court dismissed the racketeering claims, explaining that patent infringement does not qualify as a criminal act. Meanwhile, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found the asserted claims of ’506 patent unpatentable. The district court then dismissed Dr. Arunachalam’s infringement claim and imposed monetary sanctions against Dr. Arunachalam for pursuing “a baseless racketeering lawsuit.” Slip op. at 10.

The Federal Circuit held the sanctions against Dr. Arunachalam were warranted because the Appellees expended resources “responding to Dr. Arunachalam’s vexatious and wanton litigation conduct.” Id. at 14. Supporting the decision, the Court cited a laundry list of Dr. Arunachalam’s frivolous conduct, including filing seven motions to recuse the judge and claiming the Appellees colluded with the judge to evade U.S. laws. The Court also used its inherent power to impose additional sanctions against Dr. Arunachalam by striking “scandalous and irrelevant statements” made in her appeal brief. The stricken statements included that the Court “committed treason” and the district court judges “must be arrested.” Id. at 19.

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© 2021 Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 64
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About this Author

Associate

Gordon Wright focuses on patent litigation, patent prosecution, and proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). He has worked with a variety of technologies in the mechanical and electrical fields, including aerospace, agricultural, home appliance, medical device, and industrial manufacturing. 

Gordon has experience in several stages of litigation and USPTO proceedings. Notably, he has assisted in developing infringement and invalidity contentions, drafting motions, and conducting discovery.

While...

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Kara Specht Patent Litigation Attorney Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner Law Firm Atlanta GA
Associate

Kara Specht focuses on patent litigation before district courts and before the International Trade Commission (ITC). Her practice covers a wide range of electronic and electrical technology areas related to computers, consumer electronics, and computer-implemented business methods.

Kara has experience in all aspects of patent litigation before district courts, the ITC, and the Federal Circuit. Before district court and the ITC, Kara has experience from both a plaintiff and defendant perspective, ranging from pre-filing planning and strategy,...

404 653 6481
Elizabeth Ferrill Patent Attorney Finnegan Law Firm
Partner

Elizabeth Ferrill is an “undisputed expert on design patents” who is “always updated and enlightening others with her deep knowledge,” “very involved in the design bar,” and “gives her clients an outstanding service” as noted in Intellectual Asset Management Patent 1000. She focuses her practice on all aspects of design patents, including prosecution, counseling, post-grant, and litigation.

Elizabeth counsels clients who hold design patents as well as those accused of infringement. She has experience with design patents related to consumer and industrial products, medical...

202 408 4445
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