OCTANE FITNESS v. ICON HEALTH & FITNESS

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
12-1184
Petitioner 
Octane Fitness, LLC
Respondent 
ICON Health & Fitness, Inc.
Term:
Facts of the Case 

ICON Health & Fitness, Inc. (ICON) manufactures and sells exercise equipment throughout the United States. In 2000, ICON obtained U.S. Patent No. 6,019,710 (the ‘710 patent) for a system designed to link parts in elliptical exercise machines. In 2010, ICON filed a complaint against another manufacturer and seller of exercise equipment, Octane Fitness (Octane), and claimed that Octane’s elliptical design infringed upon the ‘710 patent.

The federal district court held that Octane’s design did not violate ICON’s ‘710 patent. ICON appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit. Octane argued that ICON’s lawsuit was not based on any real patent infringement, but instead aimed at hampering upstart competitors with expensive, frivolous lawsuits. Therefore, Octane asked the court to apply a patent law attorney fees statute, a statute that awards attorney fees when the plaintiff’s suit is found to be “exceptional.” The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision, but found that ICON had not acted “exceptionally” under the statute.

Question 

Did the appellate court’s interpretation of “exceptional” under the attorney fees statute improperly raise the standard for accused patent infringers to recoup attorney fees and encourage potential plaintiffs to bring frivolous patent lawsuits that cause competitive harm?

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OCTANE FITNESS v. ICON HEALTH & FITNESS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 15 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2013/2013_12_1184>.
OCTANE FITNESS v. ICON HEALTH & FITNESS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2013/2013_12_1184 (last visited April 15, 2014).
"OCTANE FITNESS v. ICON HEALTH & FITNESS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 15, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2013/2013_12_1184.