Rimini v. Oracle

The Supreme Court has granted a writ of certiorari in the copyright case Rimini Street Inc. v. Oracle USA Inc. following a Ninth Circuit decision in the case. See Oracle USA, Inc. v. Rimini St., Inc., 879 F.3d 948 (9th Cir. 2018).  In the case, the district court sided with Oracle in its copyright suit against the DB service provider Rimini and awarded $50 million in damages, plus an additional $70 million in interest, costs, and fees.  The Supreme Court case here focuses on the meaning of “full costs” as used in the Copyright Act: “In any civil action under this title, the court in its discretion may allow the recovery of full costs by or against any party. . . the court may also award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs.”  17 U.S.C. § 505.

The question presented asks whether this “full cost” provision is limited to “taxable costs” as defined by the general civil procedure statute, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1920 and 1821.

Issue Presented:

Whether the Copyright Act’s allowance of “full costs,” 17 U.S.C. § 505, to a prevailing party is limited to taxable costs under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1920 and 1821, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 8th and 11th Circuits have held, or whether the Act also authorizes non-taxable costs, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held.

In this case, $12 million of the “full costs” awarded were non-taxable.

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