Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Inc. et. al.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Inc. et. al.

Fed. Cir. (2003)

Fitzpatrick, Cella represented Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (“BMS”) in a case that was litigated for more than six years. In July 25, 2002, the Court in the Southern District of New York awarded Fitzpatrick client BMS over $32 million in attorneys fees and disbursements based on fraud committed by RPR on the US Patent Office, and RPR’s obstructive and vexatious conduct during the 6 year litigation. Among other things, the Court pointed to prior orders sanctioning RPR for obstructive deposition conduct, RPR’s numerous baseless privilege claims, RPR’s repeated loss or misplacement of key documents, RPR’s altering of experimental records, and RPR’s unreasonable discovery demands, including retaining 49 medical experts and RPR’s producing an additional 1.5 million documents near the end of fact discovery. The Court awarded attorneys fees because the case was “exceptional” under 35 U.S.C. Sect. 285, and in addition invoked its inherent equitable powers to award both BMS’ expert witness fees and prejudgment interest. The April 15, 2003 Fed. Cir. decision, unanimously affirmed the trial court’s finding that RPR committed inequitable conduct in obtaining the patent-in-suit. This ruling paves the way for affirmance of the trial court’s award of $32 million in attorneys fees, expert witness fees and prejudgment interest, the largest fee award ever reported in a patent case.