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Assisting with High-Stakes Attorney Fee Disputes

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Attorney Fee Dispute Likely Ahead in Oracle v. Google IP Litigation

June 20, 2012

A recent Corporate Counsel story, “Fee Fight the Next Battle in Oracle and Google’s Smartphone War?,” reports that while nothing has been filed in court, observers say the next battle in Oracle v. Google could be over attorney fees.  A fight over legal bills would offer tantalizing details of the fee arrangement between Google and its legal team, and put a public price tag on what it can cost to engage in complex, high-stakes IP cases.

Oracle Corp. took Google Inc. to court on a quest for eye-popping damages in the first of the smartphone wars to go to jury trial.  Oracle lost on almost every claim and can only get a fraction of the billions it once sought.  So observers say they expect Google to try to recoup the small fortune it surely paid Keker & Van Nest and two other firms to do battle with the likes of David Boies and top Morrision & Foerster IP litigators.

Google would likely petition for fees after U.S. District Judge William Alsup issues a final order in the case, which could come some time after a hearing held today.  If Oracle makes its own bid to pursue attorney fees, which observes said isn’t entirely out of the question since it prevailed on two small claims, it could expose hourly rates and fee arrangements to famed litigator David Boies and other top litigators at Morrision & Foerster.

The fee petition would come under a provision of the Copyright Act.  Unlike in other areas of civil litigation, either the prevailing defendants or plaintiff can seek reimbursement for reasonable attorney fees in copyright cases.