The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential decision today in which it affirmed a district court’s finding of exceptionality under 35 U.S.C. § 285 in favor of Energy Heating et. al., thus upholding an award of attorneys’ fees based on inequitable conduct. The opinion was authored by Judge Prost. The case stems from a 2018 CAFC ruling in which the court upheld a district court’s finding that Heat-On-the-Fly’s (HOTF’s) U.S. Patent No. 8,171,993 was unenforceable due to inequitable conduct, but remanded the district court’s denial of Energy Heating’s motion for attorneys’ fees. As reported at the time, the CAFC said that, while courts are not required to award attorneys’ fees upon a finding of inequitable conduct, they must “articulate a basis for doing so.” Thus, the CAFC remanded for the court to reconsider and supply its reasoning in the case that it again chose not to award attorneys’ fees.
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