Prevailing Repeatedly Against a Tenacious Opponent (PDF-1107kb)
Prevailing Repeatedly Against a Tenacious Opponent
“We came, we saw, we conquered, with the very professional support by Pillsbury.”
—Håkan Osvald, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Atlas Copco
Atlas Copco is a world-leading provider of industrial productivity solutions. Founded in Sweden in 1873 and employing more than 30,000 people, Atlas Copco sells its products under more than 30 different brands through a worldwide sales and service network reaching 160 countries.
For nine years, Atlas Copco has been embroiled in litigation with Air Turbine Technology, over a private-brand agreement and an Air Turbine patent. The initial product at issue, an Air Turbine-manufactured “pencil”-type grinder—a thin hand-held tool used for precision work—was sold as Atlas Copco Model No. TSF06. Years after that private-brand agreement was terminated, Atlas Copco began selling a different manufacturer’s grinder as Atlas Copco Model No. TSF07.
This caused Air Turbine to sue various Atlas Copco entities, alleging patent infringement, false advertising, unfair competition, breach of contract, breach of confidential relationship, and fraud. Pillsbury pointed out the total lack of evidence for several of these claims and succeeded in getting four out of six claims dismissed on summary judgment. After a three-week trial, a Florida jury found in favor of Atlas Copco on the two remaining claims—determining that the TSF07 had no infringing components. Air Turbine appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and Atlas Copco won on all counts there as well.
Having won at every level, Atlas Copco sought an award of the “legal costs and expenses” it was due under its original private-brand agreement with Air Turbine. In a second appearance before the Federal Circuit, Pillsbury successfully argued that the parties had intended such “costs and expenses” to include attorneys’ fees, reversing the district court’s contrary decision in a mere 24 days. As a result, Atlas Copco is now entitled to recover its full legal costs and attorneys’ fees for defending Air Turbine’s breach of contract and confidentiality claims.