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Avant Corp. spent nearly $50 million in legal fees over a six-year period, sinking most of that into its defense in a trade secrets theft battle with Cadence Design Systems Inc. and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office in California. And Cadence, too, found that a legal dream team comes with a steep price, spending $15 million during the same period, court documents released Thursday reveal. The legal fees — reported in a court filing by San Jose, Calif.-based Cadence — primarily went to two firms: Los Angeles-based O’Melveny & Myers, which worked on behalf of Avant in the civil and criminal cases and a related securities class action, and Keker & Van Nest, which represented Cadence. Cooley Godward, which handled work for Cadence in a civil counterclaim filed by Avant and discovery in the trade secrets dispute, will also take a cut. “It’s been six years of work. No one was working on contingency,” said Michael Page, a Keker partner. “Avant certainly spared no expense.” The fees come on top of the $35 million in fines Avant must pay in a plea agreement reached with county prosecutors last month. The agreement ended a four-year criminal case that accused Avant of stealing computer source code from rival software maker Cadence. But the agreement didn’t necessarily mean an end to the legal wrangling. The parties are now fighting over how much restitution Avant should pay Cadence. In the court filings released Thursday, Cadence asked for $700 million to cover legal costs, as well as lost profits and manpower. The DA’s office, in a separate filing, is asking for a minimum of $200 million. For its part, Avant, based in Fremont, Calif., is asking Judge Conrad Rushing to waive restitution, arguing Cadence would have faced competition from Avant with or without the stolen code. Daniel Bookin, the O’Melveny partner leading Avant’s defense, wouldn’t comment for the record on how much the firm has been paid in the case. Cadence lawyers, however, contend that 80 to 90 percent of Avant’s legal spending over the six-year period was on its trade secrets battle. That included not only defense attorneys for the company, but lawyers for eight individual defendants who were indicted along with Avant. Cadence lawyers obtained their numbers on legal spending through Avant’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “The $27 million in fines that Avant has paid to date mean nothing to Avant. It has spent twice that much on defense costs,” Keker attorneys wrote. Private attorneys aren’t the only ones who are experiencing a windfall from the Avant litigation. Santa Clara County will get as much as $20 million from the fines, said Deputy District Attorney Julius Finkelstein. The state will receive the remainder of the $35 million. The Santa Clara DA’s office won’t release how much the case has cost the county. But Finkelstein characterized the county’s expenditures as “a mere pittance of what the private parties spent.” No more than three deputies worked on the case at any time, Finkelstein said. “Three attorneys on fixed salaries make less than what a lot of single attorneys make on the other side,” he said. Figures for legal fees came out in a memorandum of points and authorities filed by Cadence attorneys in advance of a restitution hearing Monday. “The day of reckoning has come,” wrote Keker attorneys. “For Cadence to be compensated for all its economic losses … this court will need to enter a restitution order of perhaps unprecedented proportions.”

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