Judge Sleet Awards Over $900,000 in Fees for Exceptional Case

August 18, 2016

Publication| Intellectual Property

In Inventor Holdings, LLC v. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., C.A. No. 14-448-GMS (D. Del. July 14, 2016), Judge Sleet awarded $931,903.45 in fees to the defendant, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (“Bed Bath & Beyond”), over objections of the plaintiff, Inventor Holdings, LLC (“Inventor Holdings”). The Court had earlier concluded that the case was exceptional under Section 285.

Inventor Holdings had objected that (1) fees incurred for the appeal should not be included because nothing “exceptional” took place on appeal, and (2) certain time entries submitted by Bed Bath & Beyond reflected “unproductive, duplicative administrative or unorganized tasks.” Judge Sleet ruled that Section 285 allows the Court to award fees for the case as a whole, without distinction between trial court and appellate proceedings. The Court further noted that the finding of exceptional case was made after the Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the case; thus “the fee order contemplated the appeal and concluded that, viewing the whole case, attorneys’ fees were warranted.” As for the billing entries, Judge Sleet found that “the rate was reasonable and the hours were not ‘excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary.’”

Key Points: This is a rare case in which Judge Sleet has awarded fees. Also, parties should be aware that courts have the authority to order the payment of appellate fees already incurred, even when, as here, such fees were not expressly requested or discussed in the initial motion practice requesting fees.

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