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MIAMI � In a rare ruling, a South Florida federal judge has ordered a plaintiff and his law firm to jointly pay sanctions of $756,000 to Fort-Lauderdale-based Citrix Systems for failing to conduct a “reasonable pre-filing investigation” before filing suit. The April 28 order by U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan is unusual in that it orders sanctions to be paid by both plaintiff Alexander Orenshteyn and his attorneys, David Fink and Timothy Johnson of Houston-based Fink & Johnson. Alexander S. Orenshteyn v. Citrix Systems, No. 02-60478-CV (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D. Fla.). “We are pleased with the result, it seems fair to us,” said Doug Kline, a partner with Goodwin Procter of Boston, who represented Citrix. Neither Fink nor Johnson returned calls for comment on Friday. Kline said he does not know if they plan to appeal the ruling. Goodwin Procter will likely pursue the sanctions from the lawyers, as Orenshteyn filed for bankruptcy two years ago. The case was brought by Orenshteyn, a computer inventor from Massachussetts, in 2002 in South Florida federal court. He sued Citrix, a global computer technology company, alleging the company infringed on his patent for a computer system. Fighting since 2004 Citrix won summary judgement in 2004. Since then, the defendants moved for sanctions under both Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and under the court¹s inherent powers. In its motions for sanctions, Citrix stated that Orenshteyn “never identified the accused products that he was asserting infringement against, he never identified the claims of his patents that he was asserting against the unnamed products,” and “throughout discovery, refused to articulate his theory of infringement.” Additionally, Citrix claimed in its motion, Orenshteyn testified that he did not even know that Citrix had been sued for patent infringement until after Fink & Johnson filed the complaint against Citrix and informed him of that. “In response to requests for admission concerning whether his counsel conducted a pre-filing investigation, Mr. Orenshteyn declined to answer 58 requests for admission on that topic,” stated the motion. In his objection to the sanctions, attorney Fink argued that a recommendation for sanctions “is based on numerous misunderstandings of the law and record,” including the fact that “patent infringement only requires one claim to be infringed and not each and every claim of the patent.” In his order, Jordan explained he was granting the $755,663, $300,000 less than the fees and costs actually incurred by Citrix, because it was a “reasonable amount to deter any future violation of the pre-filing ethical obligations.” “Given Mr. Orsenshteyn’s and his counsel’s financial ability and the amount of resources that Citrix had to expend in defending this frivolous action, any lesser sanction would not be a deterrent,” he stated.

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