Copyright on typewriter

Judge calls COPA’s claimed legal costs excessive, reduces award by 33%

The U.K. High Court has rejected a costs proposal by Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) with regard to rulings issued by the Court late last year in their case against Dr. Craig Wright.

Those rulings amounted to partial victories for both sides as COPA continues to pursue litigation against Dr. Wright which challenges his copyright in the Bitcoin white paper. Nonetheless, the judge felt bound to award costs to who he determined to be the most successful party overall—COPA.

However, the judge balked at the schedule of costs submitted by COPA, amounting to £122,834.78. Accepting the submissions made in opposition by ONTIER (counsel for Dr. Wright), the judge went through COPA’s proposal item by item:

“I really do not understand how the solicitors can have thought it appropriate to spend as much as 32.4 hours on research and investigation. There can no doubt be cases where a large amount of time is required, for example because counsel delegates some part of it to the solicitors, but it needs to be justified, and the claimant here does not justify it. I will allow 5 hours.”

“Plainly there did not need to be five fee-earners at the hearing. One would have done. And the preparation of the costs schedules, albeit extensive in this case, cannot reasonably justify 21.1. hours. Something must have gone seriously wrong there. I will allow 5 hours.”

In addition to COPA’s excessive costs proposal, the judge was unimpressed by the tenor of the litigation to this point and described the proceedings as “bad tempered.”

Ultimately, this translated to a vastly reduced award of costs for COPA: £70,000, just 66% of that originally claimed. In addition to the comments from the judge, such a significant departure from the proposed costs would indicate he is largely critical by the conduct of COPA and their legal representatives, Bird & Bird.

Dr. Wright must pay COPA the £70,000 within 14 days, by 4 p.m. GMT on February 22.

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