The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday asked a federal appeals court in Washington to void a $7.4 million legal-fee award secured by the global law firm Dentons, arguing that the government’s litigation stance in the patent case was “substantially” justified and that the plaintiff should not be given any compensation at all.

A Dentons team won the fees in the U.S. Federal Claims Court for work on behalf of FastShip Inc., described in court papers by the government as “a Philadelphia-based start-up that attempted to raise money for a high-speed, transatlantic cargo ship service.” The company, which had alleged U.S. combat ships infringed certain patent rights, declared bankruptcy in 2012.

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