from the United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota in No. 0:15-cv-00180-JNE-FLN, Judge Joan N.
Randall Thomas Skaar, Skaar Ulbrich Macari, P.A., Minnetonka,
MN, argued for plaintiff-appellee.
Anthony James Fitzpatrick, Duane Morris LLP, Boston, MA,
argued for defendant-appellant. Also represented by
Christopher S. Kroon; Diana Sangalli, Thomas W. Sankey,
Prost, Chief Judge, Dyk and Moore, Circuit Judges.
Medical Technology, Inc., appeals the United States District
Court for the District of Minnesota's denial of its
motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285. Because
we hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion
in denying Wright's motion, we affirm.
Inc., is the assignee of U.S. Patent No. 6, 383, 188,
reissued as No. RE42, 757, which describes an
"expandable reamer" for use in orthopedic surgery.
'757 patent at 1:16-17. Wright manufactures a reamer
known as the X-REAM®. In 2015, Spineology sued Wright,
alleging the X-REAM® infringes claims 15, 21- 23, and
33-35 of the '757 patent.
district court issued a claim construction order in 2016. In
the order, it acknowledged that the parties disputed
construction of the term "body," but it declined to
adopt either party's construction. Wright and Spineology
then filed cross-motions for summary judgment on
infringement. Recognizing the alleged infringement depended
on how "body" was construed, the district court
construed "body" consistent with Wright's
non-infringement position and granted Wright's
then moved for attorney fees, arguing Spine-ology's
proposed construction of "body," its damages
theories, and its litigation conduct rendered this case
"exceptional" under § 285. The district court
denied the motion. It determined that, while ultimately the
court rejected Spineology's proposed construction,
"[t]he attempt was not so meritless as to render the
case exceptional." J.A. 64. It similarly determined
"the arguments made by Spineology to support its damages
theory . . . are not so meritless as to render the case
exceptional." J.A. 65. It concluded "[n]othing
about this case stands out from others with respect to the
substantive strength of Spineology's litigating position
or the manner in which the case was litigated." J.A.
§ 285, "[t]he court in exceptional cases may award
reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party."
"[A]n 'exceptional' case is 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." Octane
Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 134
S.Ct. 1749, 1756 (2014). "District courts may determine
whether a case is 'exceptional' in a case-by-case
exercise of their discretion, considering the totality of the
circumstances." Id. We review "all aspects
of a district court's § 285 determination for abuse
of discretion," keeping in mind that "the district
court 'is better positioned' to decide whether a case
is exceptional, because it lives with the case over a
prolonged period of time." Highmark Inc. v. Allcare
Health Mgmt. Sys., Inc., 134 S.Ct. 1744, 1747 (2014)
(quoting Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 559-60
we hold the district court did not abuse its discretion in
denying Wright's motion for attorney ...