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This article originally appeared in our sibling publication The Recorder. Oracle v. Google could still be a fight worth millions — in attorney fees. Oracle Corp. took Google Inc. to court on a quest for eye-popping damages in the first of the smartphone wars to go to jury trial. Oracle lost on almost every claim and can only get a fraction of the billions it once sought. So observers say they expect Google to try to recoup the small fortune it surely paid Keker & Van Nest and two other firms to do battle with the likes of David Boies and top Morrison & Foerster IP litigators. But it won’t be an easy call for the judge, who has complete discretion to give anyone a dime. “They’ve got a shot at it,” says Mark Lemley, a Stanford law professor and IP litigator at Durie Tangri. (Google is a firm client, but he was not involved in the case.) Nothing has yet been filed in court, and neither party would comment. But observers say Google would likely petition for fees after U.S. District Judge William Alsup issues a final order in the case, which could come some time after a Wednesday hearing. A battle over legal bills would offer tantalizing details of the fee arrangement between Google and its team, led by Robert Van Nest, and put a public price tag on what it can cost to engage in complex, high-stakes IP cases. And if Oracle makes its own bid to pursues attorney fees, which observers said isn’t entirely out of the question since it prevailed on two small claims, it could expose how much it costs to retain Boies, the famed chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner who tried the case with Michael Jacobs of MoFo and a small army of supporting players. “This could end up being a huge fight over attorneys fees,” says Christopher Seaman, a former IP lawyer in Chicago who begins teaching at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia in July. The petition would come under a provision of the Copyright Act. Unlike in other areas of civil litigation, either the prevailing defendant or plaintiff can seek reimbursement for reasonable fees in copyright cases.

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