Blow to patent trolls

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Supreme Court Deals Death Blow to Patent Trolls 

“The Supreme Court levels a one-two punch against so-called patent trolls. … the Supreme Court decided Tuesday to ease the standards by which prevailing parties in patent infringement cases may recoup court fees. The High Court also pushed the reset button on how easily the Federal Court of Appeals can reverse decisions made by district courts in such cases. …

Patent trolls, or non-practicing entities, purchase rights to expired or soon-to-expire patents and then sue businesses for infringement, with no other goal than a quick monetary settlement. …

The cases, known as Octane Fitness, llc v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. and Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Management Systems, Inc., were argued before the High Court at the end of February. Octane Fitness dealt with the awarding of fees in patent cases, and Highmark pertained to federal court case review standards.

‘The simplest way to look at this is how weak does a case have to be before the prevailing party gets a fee,’ says Rudy Telscher, a partner at Harness Dickey & Pierce, who argued the case on behalf of Octane Health. ‘Now a district court judge can say this was not a frivolous case, but it was weak and should not have been brought and you [plaintiff] must pay the fees.’

The Upshot … the justices reversed nearly a decade of patent law, where awarded fees only went to prevailing parties in exceptional cases, and where the winner essentially had to prove that the other party had acted fraudulently, frivolously, or in bad faith.”


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