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Judge Robinson on Reasonableness of Attorney Fees

Judge Robinson recently ordered Amazon.com to submit “relevant time sheets supporting its request for attorney fees for [certain] categories of fees.” Technology Innovations, LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc., C.A. No. 11-690-SLR, Memo. Or. at 1 (D. Del. July 23, 2014). We have previously covered the Court’s decision that Technology Innovations (TI) had asserted a claim construction that was not “objectively reasonable” and should pay reasonable attorney fees to Amazon. Judge Robinson ordered Amazon to submit an accounting of its reasonable attorney fees, and additional briefing followed. As Judge Robinson explained, “having determined that attorney fees should be awarded to Amazon for TI’s pursuit of the ‘407 patent, it remains my obligation to confirm that Amazon expended a reasonable amount of time in defending against the ‘407 patent.” Id. at 4.

Judge Robinson then concluded that although there are “difficulties associated with segregating ‘precisely all of the fees and expenses [Amazon] incurred in defending itself against’ the ‘407 patent as opposed to the ‘965 patent,” it was “impossible . . . to discern whether the fees requested are reasonable based on the record presented.” Id. Her Honor therefore ordered Amazon to supplement its submission to include time sheets for work performed by Amazon’s counsel. Id. at 4-5.

These additional submissions were necessary in order to determine which fees were “attributable to the delay in reaching the critical claim construction exercise under [Judge Robinson’s] old scheduling regime and should not be attributed to TI.” Such “‘blended’ litigation efforts vis a vis both patents at issue” were not compensable due to the difficulty in account for them. Id. at 4. Instead, “the only fees appropriately compensable under the sanction are those fees denoted by Amazon as “‘407 specific” . . . and those attributed by Amazon to the ‘407 claim construction exercise.” Id. at 5.

Judge Robinson also denied Amazon’s request to hold TI and TI’s counsel jointly and severally liable for fees. Her Honor explained that she had “never intimated that any sanctions should be imposed against counsel” and “such matters are best left for resolution between a party and its
counsel, unless there is a showing of bad faith on the part of counsel.” Id. at 4-5.

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