Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Defendant’s Fee Award Discounted to Account for Reasonable Duplication of Work and Unsuccessful Motions

The court reduced the lead defendant's requested attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 by 20% for billing overlap. "I know cases like this spawn big teams at big firms, and both partners and associates end up reviewing everything and commenting on everything, while multiple paralegals perform administrative tasks. I do not suggest that this is unreasonable - everyone on the team needs to familiarize himself or herself with developments, and I recognize that many different people end up making meaningful contributions to the finished product. But some duplication of work is inevitable, and when awarding sanctions, a court should make some effort to minimize the effects of that duplication, especially within a single firm. . . . I will apply a 20% discount (over and above the 12% already worked into the bill sent to the client) to the billable hours fees requested by [defendant]. That effectively takes one-third off the full value of [the defense] attorneys' billable hours. This discount will allow not only some remedy for inevitable duplication of effort, but also some remedy for the fact that much of the factual work done is attributable, not only to the Rule 285 motion on which the parties prevailed, but also to the motions on which they did not prevail."

Advanced Video Technologies LLC v. HTC Corporation et al, 1-11-cv-06604 (NYSD December 14, 2015, Order) (McMahon, J.)

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