Eon-Net, L.P. v. Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. W.D. Washington, Decided October 4, 2006 Judge Marsha J. Pechman Plaintiff is a patent assignee of an invention that permits quick and automatic extraction of information from hard copy documents, such as invoices or receipts. Plaintiff retained an attorney to file an infringement lawsuit against Flagstar. The Defendant is a bank that uses an application over the Internet to collect the bank’s customer information and to process the information on the bank’s server. Apparently, Plaintiff Eon-Net and the attorney were also busy filing over a dozen other lawsuits of a similar nature against companies with similar business practices as that of the Flagstar. Eon-Net followed the service of the complaint with cheap offers of settlement ranging from $25,000 and up. The finger prints of a troll are all over this case. What Eon-Net didnââ?¬â?¢t count on is the cost of not doing the preliminary investigation of patent infringement as mandated by Federal Circuit in View Engineering v. Robotic Vision Systems, 208 F.3d 981 (2000). In the context of patent litigation: ââ?¬Å?Rule 11 requires an attorney to (1) apply the claims of each asserted patent to the accused device, and (2) satisfy himself that a proper construction of the claims permits an argument that each element of the claims appears in the accused devices.ââ?¬Â? The court reasons further that “reasonable inquiry” would be sufficient to avoid the sanction against an attorney. Since the attorney for Eon-Net took the words of the assignee and went no further than simply opening up a browser to see the application process implemented by Flagstar, the court held that the attorney failed to fulfill the duty to the court. Although the attorney claims that he has met the “reasonable inquiry” standard by checking the website, the court found it to be even lower than the effort put in by the attorney in View Engineering (where the Federal Circuit upheld the sanction against the attorney for View Engineering). Any Plaintiffââ?¬â?¢s attorney in a patent infringement suit, whether for a troll or not, should be warned to pay particular attention to the preliminary investigation requirements.

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