On September 12, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the “Federal Circuit”) affirmed a 2021 decision by Judge Sabraw of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (the “District Court”) granting our client, Domino’s Pizza (“Domino’s”), $2.7 million in attorneys’ fees from Ameranth Inc., arising from a menu patent suit brought by Ameranth against Domino’s. The Federal Circuit also upheld the invalidation of other claims brought by Ameranth against additional defendants.
In the underlying case, the District Court ruled that Ameranth’s patent was invalid pursuant to U.S. Supreme Court precedent in Alice v. CLS Bank. The District Court found that the patent, which Ameranth alleged Domino’s infringed, covers only the patent-ineligible abstract idea of configuring and transmitting menu information. This decision was upheld by the Appeals Court.
After securing these rulings on behalf of Domino’s, Brooks Kushman attorneys Frank Angileri and Thomas Cunningham successfully argued that Ameranth’s weak patent infringement lawsuit against Domino’s warranted a $2.7 million award in attorneys’ fees. The District Court’s decision was based, in part, on the fact that Ameranth had previously filed other lawsuits on the basis of other menu patents that had also been found invalid under Alice, a key point argued by Angileri and Cunningham.
The District Court wrote: “Considering this pattern of continued bullishness in the face of numerous defeats, and the totality of circumstances…the court finds this an exceptional case,” meriting the award of attorneys’ fees.
Read the full case study here.