A recent Law 360 story by Hailey Konnath, “Fenwick Lands $4.6M in Fees in Amazon-PersonalWeb IP Fight,” reports that the Fenwick & West LLP team representing Amazon in PersonalWeb's failed patent infringement dispute with the online retail giant will come away with a hefty $4.6 million in attorney fees plus an additional $203,000 in court costs, a California federal judge ruled. Software developer PersonalWeb Technologies LLC took Amazon and several of its customers to court over its cloud-based storage system, which PersonalWeb claimed infringed several of its patents. But Amazon prevailed in the dispute, with the court ruling that the claims were barred because they were the same allegations the developer previously brought and lost against Amazon.
U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman approved Amazon's request for attorney fees in October, slamming the litigation as "objectively baseless." The judge declined to determine the amount at that time, but deemed the case "exceptional." Amazon had asked for $6.4 million in fees and court costs, a bill that PersonalWeb challenged. Judge Freeman held that Amazon's attorneys were entitled to $4.62 million of that for their more than 9,260 hours of work on the case.
Notably, the judge reduced Amazon's requested case management fees; its fees for investigating and responding to PersonalWeb's claims; and work on its own suit against PersonalWeb, among a few other areas. "The time that Amazon spent on the declaratory judgment complaint cannot solely be traced to PersonalWeb's misconduct," Judge Freeman said.
She also chopped about $100,000 from Amazon's court costs request, saying that some of its costs entries are redacted and that it was seeking costs for experts who didn't do work that was within the scope of an "exceptional case." Judge Freeman rejected PersonalWeb's contention that Amazon's fee request should see a 50% to 75% cut, saying the 75% reduction in particular "borders on ridiculous." PersonalWeb had argued that Fenwick had engaged in "unreasonable billing," misallocation of resources and bringing too many attorneys to depositions.
But Fenwick's records indicate that only one or two attorneys attended depositions, the judge said. "And although the court is often skeptical of the value of incessant meetings involving multiple attorneys, PersonalWeb's expert has done nothing more than provide stock criticism of the meeting and conference hours without identifying any specific irregularities," the judge said.