OMAHA, Neb. (Legal Newsline) - Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning must pay more than $700,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs for his unsuccessful pursuit of so-called “patent trolls” and a Texas law firm representing them.
On Tuesday, Judge Joseph Bataillon for the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska issued his judgment, ordering Bruning to pay Activision TV Inc. -- now ActiveLight Inc. -- $325,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs and intervenor MPHJ Technology Investments LLC $400,000.
On Monday, the judge also granted Bruning’s request to withdraw his motion for reconsideration.
The attorney general had asked the federal court in September to reconsider its summary judgment in favor of Activision and MPHJ.
“MPHJ did not even own the patents when it initially sent threatening letters to Nebraska consumers,” Bruning wrote at the time. “In reality, MPHJ asserted infringement of patents which they did not even own.”
The attorney general had issued an order barring Texas-based Farney Daniels LLP from sending demand letters on behalf of Activision.
The company sued Lincoln-based Pinnacle Bank last year, alleging the digital display screens in the bank’s lobbies infringed its patents.
Farney Daniels also represents MPHJ, which has been accused of demanding businesses pay $1,000 per worker for using a process of scanning and emailing an electronic document.
MPHJ, the so-called “scanner troll,” intervened in the case, arguing Bruning violated its right to assert its patents by ordering its counsel to stop sending demand letters in the state.
Last year, Bataillon ruled that Bruning’s order violated Activision’s rights under both the U.S. Constitution and federal patent law.
“The court is deeply concerned about the ability of the attorney general to issue cease and desist orders, prior to the conclusion of the investigation, prior to any negative findings, prior to any hearings, and prior to permitting submission of documents and evidence by the Farney Daniels law firm,” the ruling stated.
Bataillon also found Bruning did not produce any evidence of wrongdoing by Activision or Farney Daniels in sending letters to Nebraska companies notifying them of their infringement of Activision’s patents.
The attorney general later rescinded his order.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, the cost of the litigation is about 10 percent of the Attorney General’s Office’s 2014 budget.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.