October 15, 2021

Volume XI, Number 288

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Octane Fitness Does Not Provide a Set Formula For Determining Whether to Grant Attorney Fees.

UNIV. OF UTAH v. MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT: March 23, 2017. Before O’Malley, Reyna, Wallach.

Takeaway:

Octane Fitness does not provide a precise framework for a finding that a case is exceptional and warrants an award of fees, only several suggestions that might guide a district court’s discretionary decision.

In ruling on a motion for legal fees, the trial judge need not write an opinion that reveals her assessment of every consideration.

Procedural Posture:

Defendants-Appellants appealed D. Mass.’s denial of a motion for attorney fees.  CAFC affirmed.

Synopsis:

Attorney Fees: The CAFC held that the lower court did not abuse its discretion by not considering the factors set out in Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1749 (2014).  Octane Fitness does not set out a strict or precise framework, only suggestions that might guide a discretionary decision.  Octane Fitness does not require anything more than explaining why the case is (or is not) exceptional, i.e., is “one that ‘stands out from others with respect to the substantive strength of a party’s litigation position.’”

Attorney Fees: The CAFC held that the trial judge was in the best position to understand and weigh issues relating to the factual and legal strength of University of Utah’s position.  Max Planck presented evidence from the record suggesting that the district court failed to take certain facts into account.  The CAFC held that a trial judge has no obligation to write an opinion that reveals her assessment of every consideration.  Because the district court provided a thorough explanation for why it did not find this case to be exceptional, the CAFC did not second guess that determination.

Copyright © 2021, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 89
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About this Author

Paul D. Ackerman, Litigation Attorney, IP Lawyer, Andrews Kurth Law Firm, New York
Partner

Paul's practice involves all aspects of intellectual property law with an emphasis on patent litigation and trial. He has represented clients in a wide range of popular forums for patent litigation, such as the Eastern District of Texas, the Eastern District of Virginia, the District of Delaware, and the Northern and Central Districts of California, and in “337 actions” before the International Trade Commission. Paul has litigated both utility and design patent cases across a wide range of technologies, including cellular telephony, software, internet technology, semiconductor fabrication...

212.850.2858
Ian Moore, Andrews Kurth Law Firm, Intellectual Property Attorney
Associate

Ian is an Associate in the Intellectual Property section of the firm’s New York – Battery Park office. Ian’s practice is focused on patent litigation and PTAB proceedings relating to mechanical and electrical engineering technologies, as well as to software.

212-908-6306
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