$540 for Your Thoughts, Sir.

Rulings on counsel fee motions give some idea of what IP litigators charge, as well as how much courts are willing to award, for New York minutes.

Reduced fees were awarded in a ruling yesterday in a case over “patterns, fabrics and color schemes that are identical or virtually identical to the patterns, fabrics and color schemes featured in the copyrighted Anthropologie Garments.” The Magistrate noted first that the attorneys “charged discounted hourly rates ranging from $540.00 for a senior partner to $380.00 for a senior associate,” and that the party in opposition did “not quarrel with the hourly rates charged.” The disagreement was over the number of hours spent on some discovery disputes.

In one instance, the court cut the fee request for a “brief telephone scheduling conference,” deeming the “hours of time spent by three lawyers in preparing for and participating in the conference,” an approach that “seem[ed] like overkill from a billing perspective.” On a later topic, the court assayed certain motion practice to have required nothing more than “plain vanilla” responses {hear the cost cutter starting to turn}. The “hourly rates charged bespeak considerable experience and skill on the part of plaintiff’s counsel, which should yield efficiencies that are simply not very evident from the submitted time records [and], the use of six attorneys for what is (or should have been) a fairly straightforward motion to compel bespeaks a level of overstaffing that should not be rewarded.”

The whole business of seeking and justifying attorney fee awards may be no different that the general proposition of pleading for more than you think will be awarded, and so, getting more or less the amount that you expect to recover. Anthropologie, Inc. v. Forever 21, Inc., 2009 WL 1383605 (S.D.N.Y. 2009).