Judge Awards Motorola Attorney Fees from Hytera, Orders Negotiation on Amount
Thursday, March 18, 2021 | Comments

A judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted a Motorola Solutions motion seeking attorney’s fees from Hytera Communications in a theft of trade secrets and copyright infringement case.

Judge Charles Norgle did not specify an amount for the attorneys fees. Instead, he determined that both Hytera and Motorola had not complied with district rules in negotiating the amount of attorneys fees. Accordingly, he ordered the two parties to meet and negotiate in good faith on the amount of attorney’s fees.

If the two companies are unable to agree to an amount by March 31, the companies must file a joint statement on the negotiations to the court. In that case, Motorola would also be able to submit a supplemental motion on the amount of fees by April 14.

In February 2020, a jury awarded Motorola $764.6 million in damages, after determining that Hytera had taken Motorola trade secrets and implemented them in its Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) products. After a motion from Hytera, Norgle later decreased that amount to $543.7 million.

Norgle’s order on the fees said Motorola is seeking $34.3 million in attorney fees for 35,046 hours worked by 16 attorneys over the course of the case, which began in March 2017.

The judge determined that Motorola is entitled to attorney’s fees but denied Motorola’s request on the amount because it did not comply with a local district rule.

“The purpose of Local Rule 54.3 is to incentivize agreement between the parties to a fee dispute,” Norgle wrote. “And, if no agreement can be reached, Local Rule 54.3 serves to narrow the matters in dispute before a fee motion is filed and to avoid the type of back and forth that occurred between the parties in the briefing and, more pointedly, on the issue of the reasonableness of Motorola’s requested fee award.”

In determining that Motorola was entitled to the attorney fees, Norgle found that the company had prevailed on the merits of its case and that Hytera use of Motorola’s technology was “willful and malicious.”

“Accordingly, the court finds that Motorola is entitled to reasonable attorney fees for prevailing on its claims against Hytera for misappropriation of trade secrets and copyright infringement,” Norgle wrote. “But, the court finds no reason to excuse the parties from Rule 54.3(d)’s requirement to ‘confer and attempt in good faith to agree on the amount of fees that should be awarded prior to filing a fee motion.’ ”

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