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Hitkansut LLC v. United States

United States Court of Federal Claims

March 15, 2019, Filed

No. 12-303C

Opinion

 [*345]  OPINION AND ORDER

LETTOW, Senior Judge.

Plaintiffs Hitkansut LLC and Acceledyne Technologies, Ltd. LLC (collectively, "Hitkansut") brought suit against the United States (the "government") for patent infringement. After a lengthy litigation culminating in a post-trial decision, Hitkansut prevailed on the merits and the court awarded it $200,000 plus interest as reasonable and entire compensation for [**2]  the infringement. See Hitkansut LLC v. United States, 130 Fed. Cl. 353, 391-95 (2017), aff'd, 721 Fed. Appx. 992 (Fed. Cir. 2018). The judgment was affirmed on appeal. 721 Fed. Appx. 992.1 Hitkansut now has moved for an award of approximately $4.51 million in attorneys' fees and expenses pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1498(a).

The government opposes an award. It (1) challenges this court's jurisdiction to award attorneys' fees and costs separate from the underlying judgment for compensation, (2) contends that the statute requires the request for fees and costs to be made by the patent owners, but this request is in actuality being made by the owners' attorneys, (3) maintains that its position in the litigation was substantially justified and, (4) to the extent that Hitkansut merits award, urges that Hitkansut's request is unreasonable and must be reduced.

The court concludes that it has jurisdiction to consider Hitkansut's motion for fees and costs and also finds (1) that the fee request has been properly made by Hitkansut, (2) that Hitkansut is eligible for an award of attorneys' fees and costs as a prevailing plaintiff that meets the statutory size criteria, and (3) that the government's position was not substantially justified. The court further finds that Hitkansut's request is generally reasonable, but must be reduced [**3]  to elide some inappropriate and unallowable costs and excessive attorneys' fees. Accordingly, Hitkansut's request for expenses and attorneys' fees is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

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142 Fed. Cl. 341 *; 2019 U.S. Claims LEXIS 232 **

HITKANSUT LLC, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES, Defendant.

Subsequent History: Patent case; motion for award of attorneys' fees and expenses pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1498(a) [**1] ; prevailing plaintiffs; jurisdiction; standing; patent owners' fee agreements with counsel; findings regarding justification for the government's position; reasonable attorneys' fees, expense of expert witnesses, and costs

Affirmed by, Costs and fees proceeding at Hitkansut LLC v. United States, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 13992 (Fed. Cir., May 1, 2020)

Prior History: Hitkansut LLC v. United States, 111 Fed. Cl. 228, 2013 U.S. Claims LEXIS 550 (May 28, 2013)

CORE TERMS

attorney's fees, costs, expenses, patent, substantial justification, infringement, rates, fees and costs, prevailing, hourly rate, damages, awards, fee-shifting, cases, processing, pursuing, funding, Reply, fee award, pre-litigation, contingency, expert witness, reasonable fee, argues, ranged, fees and expenses, thermomagnetic, reimbursement, pre-trial, billed