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A federal appeals court has upheld a decision mandating that Icon Health and Fitness pay $1.6 million in attorney’s fees for filing an unwarranted patent lawsuit against a competitor.
Icon sued Octane Fitness in 2009, saying that Octane’s high-end elliptical machines infringed US Patent No. 6,019,710, which describes an elliptical machine that allows for adjustments to accommodate individual strides. After two years of litigation, a district court judge found that Octane’s machines didn’t infringe. Octane asked for an award of legal fees, but later in 2011, a judge rejected the company’s bid.

That decision was upheld on appeal.
Octane didn’t get its fee award, despite the fact that it had uncovered e-mails in discovery suggesting that Icon was simply using the lawsuit to hamper a smaller competitor.

An Icon executive had described the ‘710 patent as an “old patent we had for a long time that was just sitting on the shelf.”
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