United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON APPLICATION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AND
CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
KX TECHNOLOGIES, LLC ("Plaintiff") brought this
action for patent infringement pursuant to 35 U.S.C.
§§ 1, et seq.; for unfair trade practices pursuant
to the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act
("CUTPA"), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110a, et
seq.; and for unfair competition pursuant to the Lanham Act,
15 U.S.C. § 1125, et seq., seeking injunctive relief,
damages, costs, and attorney's fees. Following entry of a
default judgment in its favor, Plaintiff has filed a
supplemental memorandum in support of its request for an
award of attorney's fees and costs. Defendants have not
opposed the fee application. This Ruling resolves it.
filed the Complaint in this action on August 23, 2016, Doc.
1, and on December 15, 2016, filed an Amended Complaint with
leave of the Court. Doc. 57. After Defendants Dista Filter
d/b/a Dista ("Dista") and Waterfall Filter Company
d/b/a Waterfall Filter ("Waterfall") failed to
appear in this action or otherwise respond to the Amended
Complaint, Plaintiff filed a motion for default entry as to
those two remaining Defendants, pursuant to Rule 55(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Doc. 101, which was granted
by the Court on October 11, 2017. Doc. 102.
thereafter filed a motion for default judgment as directed by
this Court's Order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 55(b). Doc. 103. On April 19, 2018, the Court
granted Plaintiff's unopposed motion for default
judgment, in part, and entered default judgment for Plaintiff
on its claims against Dista and Waterfall for patent
infringement and for unfair trade practices. Doc. 104. The
Court required Plaintiff to file a supplemental memorandum of
law to the extent it wished to pursue its request for
damages, costs and fees. See Id. at 11. On May 17,
2018, Plaintiff timely filed a supplemental memorandum of law
in support of its request for attorney's fees and costs.
Doc.105. Plaintiff withdrew its request for punitive damages.
See Id. at 5. Defendants have filed no objection to
Plaintiff's request for costs and fees.
Ruling resolves Plaintiff's request for attorney's
fees and costs.
the Court enters a default judgment, it must accept as true
all of the factual allegations of the complaint, but the
amount of damages are not deemed true." Tiffany (NJ)
Inc. v. Luban, 282 F.Supp.2d 123, 124 (S.D.N.Y. 2003)
(internal citation and quotation marks omitted). Accordingly,
"[t]he district court must instead conduct an inquiry in
order to ascertain the amount of damages with reasonable
certainty." Credit Lyonnais Sec. (USA), Inc. v.
Alcantara, 183 F.3d 151, 155 (2d Cir. 1999) (citation
omitted). This inquiry requires the Court to determine the
proper rule for calculating damages, and to assess
Plaintiff's evidence supporting the damages to be
determined under Rule 55. Id.
Defendants' liability has been established by virtue of
the default order entered in this matter, it remains to be
determined whether Plaintiff has provided adequate support
for the fees and costs it seeks. Keystone Glob. LLC v.
Auto Essentials, Inc., No. 12-CV-9077(DLC), 2015 WL
224359, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 16, 2015) (collecting cases).
Whether a hearing is required to determine damages is left to
the discretion of the District Judge. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(b)(2); see also Fustok v. ContiCommodity Servs.,
Inc., 873 F.2d 39, 40 (2d Cir. 1989). A hearing is not
necessary if the Court "ensure[s] that there was a basis
for the damages specified in a default judgment."
Fustok, 873 F.2d at 40. If the Court determines a hearing is
not required, the Court may rely upon detailed affidavits and
documentary evidence. Id.; see also
Transatlantic Marine Claims Agency, Inc. v. Ace Shipping
Corp., 109 F.3d 105, 111 (2d Cir. 1997).
matter, Plaintiff has provided two declarations and other
documentary evidence supporting its claims for infringement,
an award of attorney's fees and costs, and additional
details concerning Defendants' post-judgment activities.
See Doc. 105. No. response to these materials has been filed.
The Court finds that Plaintiff's declarations and the
documentary evidence submitted provide a basis for an award
of fees and costs; accordingly, a hearing is not required.
contends that this case should be deemed
"exceptional" under 35 U.S.C. § 285,
warranting an award of attorney's fees to the prevailing
party. In support of this position, Plaintiff points to
Defendants' conduct; the strength of Plaintiff's
litigation position; Defendant's willful infringement of
Plaintiff's patents; Defendants' continuing actions
to evade detection and enforcement; and the need for
deterrence. See Doc. 105 at 10.
285 of the Patent Act authorizes a district court to award
attorney's fees in patent litigation. It provides, in its
entirety, that '[t]he court in exceptional cases may
award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing
party.'" Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health
& Fitness, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 1749, 1752 (2014)
(quoting 35 U.S.C. § 285). In Octane Fitness, the
Supreme Court held that
an "exceptional" case is simply one that stands out
from others with respect to the substantive strength of a
party's litigating position (considering both the
governing law and the facts of the case) or the unreasonable
manner in which the case was litigated. District courts may
determine whether a case is "exceptional" in the
case-by-case exercise of their discretion, considering the
totality of the circumstances.
134 S.Ct. at 1756 (footnote omitted).
making this determination, "there is no precise rule or
formula" to be followed, "but instead equitable
discretion should be exercised" in light of the above
considerations. Id. (quoting Fogerty v. Fantasy,
Inc., 510 U.S. 517 (1994)). The Octane Fitness Court
noted a nonexclusive list of factors that may be considered,
including "frivolousness, motivation, objective
unreasonableness (both in the factual and legal components of
the case) and the need in particular circumstances to advance
considerations of compensation and deterrence."
Id. at 1756 n.6 (quotation marks and citation
285 demands a simple discretionary inquiry; it imposes no
specific evidentiary burden, much less such a high one.
Indeed, patent-infringement litigation has always been
governed by a preponderance of the evidence standard[.]"
Id. at 1758 (citation omitted). Thus, in determining
whether Plaintiff has established that this is an
"exceptional" matter for the purposes of an award
of attorney's ...