The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted to hear two patent-related matters during their upcoming term. Both cases involve the awarding of attorney fees to a prevailing party. The first case (Octane Fitness v ICON Health & Fitness, Docket 12-1184) involves the issue of what constitutes an “exceptional case” that provides for the awarding of attorney fees under 35 USC 285. The second case (Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Management Sys., Docket No. 12-1163) involves the issue of whether an appeals court must give deference to a previous award of attorney fees.
It appears that the Court may also decide to hear a third patent-related case directed to induced infringement under 35 USC 271(b). In Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai (692 F.3d 1301), the Federal Circuit in a split en banc decision overturned precedent by holding that infringement through inducement does not require a showing that a single party be liable for direct infringement. The Supreme Court has invited to US Solicitor General to file a brief on the determination of infringement when the steps of the claimed invention are performed by multiple parties.
The Supreme Court will also hear a copyright issue. Petrella v MGM, Docket 12-1315 deals with the issue of laches in a copyright matter and what is the proper interpretation of the three-year statute of limitations for copyright claims under 17 USC 507(b). The case involves the daughter of Jake LaMotta and her claims of ownership to the 1980 movie Raging Bull.