IP Co-Chair Aaron Stiefel Discusses Effects of SCOTUS Octane Fitness Ruling with Law360
The Law360 article “One Year On, Octane Causing More Hard-Fought Patent Cases” quotes Intellectual Property Co-Chair Aaron Stiefel on the US Supreme Court’s Octane Fitness ruling as the decision marks its one year anniversary.
Octane Fitness made it easier for courts to require losing parties in patent cases to pay their opponents’ fees, and attorneys say the new standard is spurring more companies to fight suits they think are baseless rather than settle to avoid legal costs.
Noting that cases involving so-called patent trolls making questionable infringement allegations may lend themselves to fee awards under Octane Fitness, the article quotes Aaron as saying the standard doesn’t apply in the majority patent cases: “Octane Fitness still says that exceptional means exceptional, which means rare. . . It doesn’t mean that if you won, you can move for attorneys’ fees.”
The article continues: “In order to maintain credibility in the eyes of judges, attorneys should be careful about seeking fees, since there is a winner and a loser in every case, and the fact that you won doesn’t mean the case stands out, Stiefel said. ‘I would be hesitant to move for attorneys’ fees unless I really thought the case was exceptional.’”