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IP Alert: Supreme Court Issues Two Opinions Relating to “Exceptional Cases”

April 29, 2014

Today the United States Supreme Court issued two decisions relating to 35 U.S.C. 285, the fee-shifting provision that authorizes district courts to award attorney’s fees to prevailing parties in “exceptional cases.”

In Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., addressing the standard for what constitutes an “exceptional case,” the Court held that an “exceptional” case under section 285 is “simply one that stands out from others with respect to the substantive strength of a party’s litigating position (considering both the governing law and the facts of the case) or the unreasonable manner in which the case was litigated.”

In Highmark, Inc. v. Allcare Health Management System, Inc., the Court addressed the standard of review that should apply to a district court’s exceptional case determination. The Court held that an appellate court should review all aspects of such determination for abuse of discretion.

Fitch Even attorneys are reviewing these decisions and will provide a more detailed analysis in an upcoming IP alert.

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