BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. – Sept. 9, 2015 – The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota recently awarded $1.8 million in attorneys’ fees and expenses to Octane Fitness, LLC, for its defense in a patent infringement case brought by Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. In July, the Court ruled that this case was exceptional under 35 USC 285, using the new standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court that reduces the standard of proof for legal fee reimbursement, and thereby worthy of reasonable attorneys fees and expenses.
“We are grateful to have prevailed against this meritless litigation, and are committed to aggressively defend against unjustified allegations of patent infringement,” said Dennis Lee, president and CEO of Octane Fitness. ”Octane is thrilled to have played a role in changing U.S. patent law to help deter frivolous lawsuits among all industries.”
The Court awarded fees and expenses to cover the defense against the original litigation, but not the appeals costs that ultimately established the new standard of proof for legal fee reimbursement. Judge Ann Montgomery ordered Icon Health & Fitness to pay Octane Fitness $1.63 million in attorneys’ fees and $144,697 in costs (http://cases.justia.com/federal/district-courts/minnesota/mndce/0:2009cv00319/105109/296/0.pdf?ts=1441196673).
In February 2009, Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. sued Octane for infringing on two of its patents on its elliptical machines – one on electronic heart rate monitoring and one on linkage of the moving pedals. Icon was forced to drop the heart rate claim, and Octane won on the linkage issue and requested reimbursement for attorneys’ fees.
While the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued summary judgment in Octane’s favor in October 2012, both found the case was not “exceptional” enough to warrant imposition of fees.
In response, Octane filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that this statutory interpretation was a “rigid and virtually insurmountable test,” and that trial judges should be able to award fees when a patent holder “unreasonably pursues a case having an objectively low likelihood of success” to serve as a deterrent to litigation abuse.
In April 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the appeals court and reduced the standard of proof for legal fee reimbursement from “clear and convincing evidence” to a “preponderance of the evidence.” The U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case to the Federal Circuit for reconsideration, which sent it to the District Court.
The Court indicated that Octane Fitness showed by “a preponderance of the evidence that Icon’s litigation position was exceptionally weak,” and that fees were merited. The case is Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness, Civil No. 09-319.
Octane Fitness Background
Relentlessly fueled to reinvent zero-impact cardiovascular exercise, Octane Fitness has perfected the elliptical machine, introduced a new category with the xRide® recumbent elliptical, designed strength-infused cardio with the unique CROSS CiRCUIT®, created exercise in a new direction with the LateralX®, reinvented running with the Zero Runner®, optimized cross training with the XT-One™ that does it all and is leading smarter training with SmartLink™. Defined by standout innovations, and driven to deliver more effective, efficient and rewarding workouts, Octane is engineering elliptical domination.
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BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. – Sept. 9, 2015 – The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota recently awarded $1.8 million in attorneys’ fees and expenses to Octane Fitness, LLC, for its defense in a patent infringement case brought by Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. In July, the Court ruled that this case was […]