U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Attorneys Fees in Two Patent Cases

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Attorney’s fees were the subjects of two U.S. Supreme Court decisions yesterday in high profile patent cases. In Octane Fitness v. Icon Health and Highmark v. Allcare Health, the Court decided in "exceptional cases" reasonable attorneys fees may be awarded to a prevailing party.

Interestingly, the Court leaves it to the trial court to define which cases are exceptional. This is to be done in the court's exercise of its discretion on a case-by-case basis. This is a dramatic change. The prior standard used in these types of matters required a finding of "subjective bad faith" and/or "objectively baseless" conduct. 

Those standards were very high; making the circumstances where a fee award was granted to be rare.  The policy surrounding this decision appears to deter parties who have abused the patent system for their own financial gain.

 


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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