Lawyers Weigh In On High Court's Patent Rulings
April 29, 2014
"Lawyers Weigh In On High Court's Patent Rulings"
Farella's James Morando comments on the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Management Systems Inc. and Octane Fitness LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness Inc., that make it easier for courts to sanction plaintiffs that bring meritless patent infringement lawsuits, overturning the Federal Circuit in both cases.
Morando comments, “The US Supreme Court’s decisions in Octane Fitness and Highmark reflect a common sense interpretation of the fee shifting statute that Congress has included in the Patent Act. District court judges handling patent cases on a day to day basis are in the best position to make decisions regarding when it is appropriate to grant fee awards unburdened by formulistic criteria or high evidentiary standards. However, these decisions may not as a practical matter have the impact that some may think. While correctly restoring trial court discretion to award fees when exceptional circumstances present themselves and making their decisions subject only to the more relaxed abuse of discretion standard on appeal, the reality is that most district courts are and will likely still continue to be reluctant to award fees except in the most egregious circumstances.”
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