Nebraska attorney general agrees to pay $725K in court costs, attorney fees for patent case

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LINCOLN, Nebraska — Nebraska will have to pay $725,000 in court costs and attorney fees after a federal judge ruled against the attorney general's office in a patent infringement case.

U.S. District Senior Judge Joseph F. Bataillon ordered the payments this week in a lawsuit that included Attorney General Jon Bruning and two staff attorneys as defendants.

Florida-based ActiveLight, Inc., — formerly known as Activision TV at the time the suit was filed in July 2013 — alleged Pinnacle Bank infringed on a patent of a remote control electronic display system. Activision added Bruning to the lawsuit after his office sent their lawyers a cease-and-desist letter to halt any new patent infringement lawsuits.

About a week later, Bruning announced that he had sent the letter to the Texas law firm of Farney Daniels, PC, which represented Activision and said he was joining a national effort to crack down on so-called "patent trolls," which threaten lawsuits against businesses for violating their patents even though the "trolls" aren't using the patent to produce goods or services.

Activision TV said Bruning's allegations were baseless.

Bataillon ruled that Farney Daniels could continue to represent the company in Nebraska, and the company later settled its claim with Pinnacle Bank.

Bataillon ordered the state to pay ActiveLight $325,000 for its attorney fees and costs.

Another client of the law firm that joined the suit, MPHJ Technology Investments, is now owed $400,000 from the state. That company also had patent cases in Nebraska.

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