In a copyright infringement lawsuit between Rimini Street, Inc. and Oracle USA, Inc., a jury awarded Oracle damages after finding that Rimini Street had infringed various Oracle copyrights. After judgment, the District Court also awarded Oracle fees and costs, including $12.8 million for litigation expenses such as expert witnesses, e-discovery, and jury consulting. In affirming the $12.8 million award, the Ninth Circuit acknowledged that it covered expenses not included within the six categories of costs that the general federal statute authorizing district courts to award costs, 28 U. S. C. §§1821 and 1920, provides may be awarded against a losing party. The six categories of litigation expenses that qualify as “costs” are: (1) fees of the clerk and marshal; (2) fees for the court reporters; (3) fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses; (4) fees for copies of materials used in the case; (5) docket fees; and (6) compensation of court-appointed experts and translators. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1821, 1920. The court nonetheless held that the award was appropriate because the Copyright Act gives federal district courts discretion to award “full costs” to a party in copyright litigation, 17 U. S. C. §505.
The Supreme Court in Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle USA, Inc., 139 S.Ct. 873 (2019) reversed, holding that the term “full costs” in §505 of the Copyright Act means the costs specified in the general costs statute codified at §§1821 and 1920 and does not therefore include all litigation expenses such as expert witnesses, e-discovery, and jury consulting. The Rimini Street case can be found here.