attorney fees"). The Federal Circuit announced the exception because the inequitable conduct issue may bear on whether the case is "exceptional," which is part of the attorney fee inquiry. Id.
Despite 3i's motion for attorney fees, this case does not fall under the Circuit's exception. At trial, the jury found that Nobelpharma acted fraudulently. Given the jury's finding, already we can determine whether this case is "exceptional." See, e.g., Stevens & Co. v. Lex Tex Ltd., Inc., 747 F.2d 1553, 1559 (Fed. Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 822, 88 L. Ed. 2d 60, 106 S. Ct. 73 (1985) (noting that inequitable "conduct before the [Patent and Trademark Office] . . . is broader than 'common law fraud'"). Therefore, the inequitable conduct issue remains moot.
Going beyond the Court's policy concerns in Cardinal, 3i argues that, for reasons of judicial economy, we should decide whether the '891 patent is unenforceable. "It is not in the interest of judicial economy or the parties, particularly having in mind the expense of this litigation, to have a piecemeal or staggered consideration of these issues." Def. Br. at 4. Because the jury found fraud under the antitrust counterclaim, fraud requires a higher burden of proof than inequitable conduct, and inequitable conduct provides an independent ground for having a patent declared unenforceable, we should rule on the issue. Id. at 4-5.
Nobelpharma responds that our interest in judicial economy should not blind us to other important issues. First, Nobelpharma argues that 3i "agreed [at trial] to the deletion of inequitable conduct from any further proceedings."
Pl. Br. at 2. Second, it argues that "it would be error . . . to determine that inequitable conduct exists merely because of the jury determination that the inventors . . . obtained the '891 patent through fraud." Pl. Br. at 4, n.2. Third, it argues that, if we did make the determination, we would violate its Seventh Amendment rights. Pl. Br. at 2.
We do not decide the merits of Nobelpharma's arguments because, in any event, we do not agree with 3i that we should rule for reasons of judicial economy. Ruling on moot issues does not improve judicial economy. Moreover, ruling on moot issues for fear that an appellate court might reverse other dispositive rulings does not improve judicial dignity.
For the reasons discussed above, we deny 3i's (prompted) request that we rule on the issue of inequitable conduct and produce findings of fact and conclusions of law. Instead, pursuant to Rule 58, we enter final judgment in this case.
January 27, 1995
BRIAN BARNETT DUFF, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL CASE
Decision by Court. This action came to trial or hearing before the Court. The issues have been tried or heard and a decision has been rendered.
IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED The court denies 3i's (prompted) request that we rule on the issue of inequitable conduct and proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Instead, pursuant to Rule 58, we enter final judgment on this case in the amount of $ 9,904.737.
January 27, 1995