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Federal judge awards fees in Octane case.

Byline: Ed Silverstein

Following a lengthy legal battle, a federal judge recently announced what Octane's attorneys will get paid in the Icon Health & Fitness v. Octane Fitness patent infringement case.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery said the attorneys will be getting about $1.8 million, between fees and costs.

"We are very pleased with the $1.8 million dollar award," Rudy Telscher, an attorney at Harness Dickey, said when asked about the judge's decision. "That goes a long way towards rectifying the wrong that occurred in this case. The Court had to make many decisions about fee issues over a seven-year litigation. The court resolved most issues in our favor."

Specially, the Minnesota federal court judge ruled that Octane is entitled to $1,633,333 in attorney's fees and court costs of $144,697.

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FURTHER READING: Octane Fitness attorneys are closer to getting reasonable fees Octane verdict a 'victory for the entire industry' Octane, Highmark cases to impact future of fee shifting

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Octane had requested $2,486,578.50 in attorney's fees and $362,582.95 in expenses. Icon raised several objections and wanted Octane to get no more than $1,055,613.35 in fees and $129,711.23 in expenses. Icon challenged many specific fees in its argument, with one notable point being that the company did not want Octane to recover its fees and expenses in connection with any appeal efforts. Overall, Icon did not want to pay for "fees and expenses that are not compensable under applicable law or are unreasonable," according to the judge's ruling.

Before making her decision, Montgomery reviewed itemized billing statements, expense reports, documentation of local billing rates and other evidence from Octane's attorneys.

During the legal battle, the case was heard by the Supreme Court. With its Octane decision, district court judges have gotten more discretion on attorney's fees in patent cases, Telscher said.

Earlier this summer, Montgomery granted Octane's motion for attorney's fees and costs, and said the patent case was "exceptional" under the Patent Act's fee-shifting statute. In her ruling, she noted that, "The court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party.... District courts are afforded considerable discretion in determining the amount of reasonable attorney's fees."

The older standard on fees came from the Brooks Furniture Mfg. v. Dutailier Intern case. That standard said that absent misconduct in litigation or in securing a patent, a case was "exceptional" if a party can show by clear and convincing evidence that litigation was brought in bad faith, and the litigation is "objectively baseless."

Icon had alleged that Octane infringed on Icon's patent, which covers an elliptical machine designed to minimize floor space and allow for adjustable stride length.

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Publication:Inside Counsel Breaking News
Date:Sep 8, 2015
Words:455
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