July 30, 2017

Published Ninth Circuit Victory in Antitrust Case

In June 2006, Payne & Fears LLP obtained summary judgment for its client, a New Jersey intellectual property firm, in an action brought by a California tool distributor and its Taiwanese supplier. The complaint, which sought millions in damages, alleged that the client violated federal antitrust law, the Lanham Act and state law when it brought a prior suit against the distributor and supplier for patent infringement. In 2005, Payne & Fears LLP brought a successful motion for partial summary judgment on litigation privilege grounds, which eliminated six of nine claims. After discovery, the federal court held that the prior patent suit was supported by probable cause and protected by the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, and dismissed the three remaining claims. Plaintiffs then appealed to the Ninth Circuit. After briefing and oral argument, the Ninth Circuit agreed with Payne & Fears LLP on all points and upheld the grant of summary judgment in favor of its client. The published decision, authored by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, in entitled Fisher Tool Company, Inc. v Gillet Outillage, 530 F.3d 1063 (9th Cir. 2008). Daniel L. Rasmussen and Daniel F. Lula handled the defense and the appeal.