The legal principle that the loser pays the costs of the winner in litigation usually holds good, but it is not true in all cases, as a recent intellectual property (IP) case illustrates.
It involved an alleged breach of patent rights, in which the defendant raised a ‘blunderbuss’ defence, raising a large number of points which the court considered to be unnecessary.
Although the defendant was ruled not to have breached the claimant’s patent, the case was won on the single point of obviousness (that the subject of the patent was so obvious that a patent should not have been granted in the first place). The defendant lost on the majority of the other points it raised.
In the circumstances, the court declined to order the unsuccessful claimant to pay the costs of the successful defendant.
Effective management of litigation normally involves concentrating on the points that support one’s case and not getting drawn into arguing every possible point.