The US Supreme Court just gave judges a little more leverage to punish patent trolls: it defined the word "exceptional." A provision of federal patent law hinged on the definition of the word, stating that the court could charge a lawsuit's losing party with the winner's attorney fees in "exceptional cases." It sounds straightforward: if a lawsuit is obviously frivolous, the patent troll pays its victim's costs. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court said, precedent from a previous case left the rule with "an inflexible framework onto statutory text that is inherently flexible." In other words, it was too difficult to define exactly how exceptional a case was, making it nearly impossible to implement punitive fee-shifting.