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Intellectual Property – patents — attorney fees

U.S. Supreme Court


Intellectual Property – patents — attorney fees

All aspects of a district court’s exceptional-case determination under sec. 285 should be reviewed for abuse of discretion.

Prior to Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., ante, p. ___, this determination was governed by the framework established by the Federal Circuit in Brooks Furniture Mfg., Inc. v. Dutailier Int’l, Inc., 393 F. 3d 1378. Octane rejects the Brooks Furniture framework as unduly rigid and holds that district courts may make the exceptional case determination under §285 in the exercise of their discretion. The holding in Octane settles this case. Decisions on “matters of discretion” are traditionally “reviewable for ‘abuse of discretion,’ ” Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U. S. 552, 558, and this Court previously has held that to be the proper standard of review in cases involving similar determinations, see, e.g., id., at 559; Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp., 496 U. S. 384, 405. The exceptional-case determination is based on statutory text that “emphasizes the fact that the determination is for the district court,” Pierce, 487 U. S., at 559; that court “is better positioned” to make the determination, id., at 560; and the determination is “multifarious and novel,” not susceptible to “useful generalization” of the sort that de novo review provides, and “likely to profit from the experience that an abuse-of discretion rule will permit to develop,” id., at 562.

687 F. 3d 1300, vacated and remanded.

12-1163 Highmark, Inc., v. Allcare Health Management System, Inc.

Sotomayor, J.

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