Malvern Instruments wins US$2m in court battle with Wyatt Technology


US Court of Appeals says case is ‘groundless’ and ‘unreasonable’

Malvern Instruments has been awarded more than US$2m in legal fees and costs in the final round of its long-running court battle with Wyatt Technology Corporation regarding the sale of Malvern’s Zetasizer Nano range in the US.

Wyatt had alleged copyright infringement of software and other materials, false advertising and theft of trade secrets, and sought damages from Malvern in excess of $25m.

Paul Walker, Managing Director of Malvern Instruments, said the lawsuit was founded on ‘baseless accusations that had been potentially highly damaging to Malvern’s reputation’.

In successive rulings Wyatt has been criticised for making claims that lack reasonable factual or legal basis. In the original April 2010 court order for attorneys’ fees, the judge said Wyatt’s claims were ‘baseless’, ‘specious’ and ‘groundless and unreasonable’, and suggested that Wyatt’s motive was to use litigation as a tool to compete unfairly with Malvern.

We remain disappointed that Wyatt should have chosen to act in this manner

Wyatt first filed the lawsuit against Malvern in December 2007, but in 2010 conceded that it would be incapable of proving its claims. Judgement was entered in favour of Malvern, which was also awarded $2,001,213.56 plus interest for attorneys’ fees and expenses. Wyatt appealed both the findings and the award of these costs.

In a disposition filed on 16 May this year, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld both the original ruling and the award of costs to Malvern. The Court found that, given Wyatt’s repeated failure to litigate meaningfully the issues it put before the district court by bringing the lawsuit, it may be said fairly that the ‘plaintiff’s case is groundless, unreasonable, vexatious, or pursued in bad faith’.

Sign up for your free email newsletter

Walker said he was delighted that the court’s ruling in favour of Malvern has been completely upheld, but remained ‘disappointed that Wyatt should have chosen to act in this manner’.