California Federal Court Awards $5.5 Million in Legal Fees/Costs Even Though Attorneys Failed to Provide Detailed Billing Records

Posted on June 10th, 2015 by Legal Fee Advisors

In a March 2015 decision in a patent infringement case, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California awarded defendant’s attorneys over 5.5 million dollars in attorney’s fees and expenses. The Court granted the award even though defendant failed to provide “billing records” in support of its fee demand. (Kilopass Tech., Inc. v. Sidense Corp., 82 F. Supp. 3d 1154 (N.D. Cal. 2015)).

The parties in Kilopass were plaintiff Kilopass Technology, Inc. and defendant Sidense Corporation. In 2010, plaintiff filed a semiconductor patent infringement lawsuit against defendant Sidense. Defendant ultimately prevailed in 2012 and sought to recover its attorney’s fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 of the Patent Act and 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a) of the Lanham Act. Sidense initially was denied its request for attorney fees but, after numerous appeals, eventually succeeded. The primary issue before the Court was the appropriate amount of attorney’s fees to be awarded.

Sidense’s attorneys did not provide detailed time records documenting the tasks completed or the amount of time spent. As a result, plaintiff argued that the billing records submitted by the defendant were inadequate and the award should be reduced because they rendered it “impossible for the Court to determine what fees are associated with compensable activities, and which fees are reasonable.” The defendant did produce, however, “a detailed declaration from a co-lead attorney, two expert reports, a log of invoice and expense records, an economic report summarizing prevailing rates in the community, and publications evaluating KTS’ effectiveness relative to other IP firms.” The Court held that the information provided by the defendant was adequate and sufficiently detailed to enable the Court to “evaluate all relevant factors necessary to determining the lodestar.”

The District Court continued with its lodestar analysis and calculated the appropriate attorney’s fees to award. It first assessed the reasonableness of the attorney’s rates and, with a few exceptions, found them ““in line with those prevailing in the community for similar services by lawyers of reasonably comparable skill, experience and reputation.” The Court also found the hours spent by defendant’s attorneys reasonable and felt that Sidense made “a good faith effort to exclude from [its] fee request hours that are excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary.”

As a result, the Court ultimately awarded attorneys’ fees in the amount of $5,315,315.01, and costs in the amount of $220,630.53.

 

M. Racanelli

 Kilopass Tech., Inc. v. Sidense Corp., 82 F. Supp. 3d 1154 (N.D. Cal. 2015)

 

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