Last week’s Supreme Court decision in Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc. broadened the “exceptional case” rubric used to determine when an award of attorney fees is appropriate in a district court patent dispute. On the same day, in Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Mgmt. Sys., the Court re-calibrated the level of deference the CAFC must accord to such determinations on appeal. It remains unclear if improving the odds of securing fees in a legal sense will translate to practical impact for patent litigants. That is, given the historic disinclination of district court judges to award fees, especially in certain plaintiff friendly jurisdictions, whether these decisions will really advance the needle for accused infringers. What is certain, however, is that accused infringers will be far more active in seeking such relief going forward, and may seek to creatively leverage PTAB patent challenge proceedings to support their case.
Can an ongoing PTAB proceeding help distinguish an “exceptional” case? Read the rest of this entry »