Appeals Court Says Defendants In Bogus Copyright Cases 'Are Entitled To A Very Strong Presumption' For Receiving Attorneys' Fees
from the it's-something dept
As a consequence of their successful defense of an infringement suit, Defendants are entitled to a "very strong" presumption in favor of receiving attorneys' fees. Assessment Techs. of Wis., LLC v. Wire Data, Inc., 361 F.3d 434, 437 (7th Cir. 2004). This presumption is designed to ensure that an infringement defendant does not abandon a meritorious defense in situations in which "the cost of vindication exceeds the private benefit to the party." Id. "For without the prospect of such an award, [an infringement defendant] might be forced into a nuisance settlement or deterred altogether from exercising [its] rights." Id. DeliverMed has not provided us with any reason to rebut this presumption.Now, the case may be a bit more involved, seeing as the plaintiff apparently lied to the Copyright Office to register the copyright in question, but it's still nice to see a clear statement that defendants who fight back against bogus copyright claims should be able to get fees from the plaintiffs.
Of course, the ruling isn't all good. Thanks to the already terrible law, the ProIP Act from 2008 (which, in a lot of ways was significantly worse than SOPA), there's now a rule in copyright law that says a court can't just invalidate a bogus copyright registration. Instead, it first needs to go to the Copyright Register, and ask for the Register's opinion on the matter (in this case, ask whether or not the Copyright Office would still register the copyright knowing the facts). This seems silly and wasteful. Basically everyone knows, in this case, that the registration was based on "intentional misstatements." A court should be able to invalidate such bogus registrations. But, thanks to the ProIP Act, they can't do that, so the court's hands are tied. The court seems to recognize how problematic the whole situation is, and spends a very long time warning "both courts and litigants" away from doing similar things in the future, noting that this demand to get the Register involved could be abused as a delay tactic in cases.
So, yes, it's yet another problem with ProIP. Seems like it's about time that terrible law got revisited...