The Patent Act’s fee-shifting provision, 35 U.S.C. § 285, authorizes district courts to award attorneys’ fees to prevailing parties in “exceptional cases.”  In a pair of recent opinions, the Supreme Court clarified the meaning of that provision and the proper standard of review that applies to it.  In Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1749 (U.S. 2014) (No. 12-1184), the Supreme Court clarified the meaning of that provision, holding that “an ‘exceptional’ case is simply one that stands out from others with respect to the substantive strength of a party’s litigating position (considering both the governing law and the facts of the case) or the unreasonable manner in which the case was litigated.”  In so holding, the Court rejected the Federal Circuit’s interpretation of this provision in Brooks Furniture Manufacturing, Inc. v. Dutailier International, Inc., 393 F.3d 1378 (2005), which had held that a case was exceptional only where there was litigation-related misconduct of an independently sanctionable magnitude or a finding that the litigation was both objectively baseless and brought in subjective bad faith.  The Court concluded that the Federal Circuit’s formulation was “overly rigid” and unsupported by the plain text of the Patent Act.  In a second decision issued the same day, Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Management System, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1744 (U.S. 2014) (No. 12-1163), the Court further held that all aspects of a district court’s exceptional-case determination under the Patent Act’s fee-shifting provision should be reviewed for abuse of discretion.  The Court concluded that exceptional-case inquiries are rooted in factual determinations and that the district court, using its discretion and considering the totality of the circumstances, is better positioned to decide whether a case is exceptional.