SCOTUS Opinion: Copyright Act’s Award Of Costs Limited To Those Available Under Typical Bill Of Costs

Oracle accused Rimini Street, Inc. of violating various copyrights, and won at trial. Under the Copyright Act, the district court awarded Oracle $12.8 million in litigation expenses under the Act. The district court acknowledged that it was awarding Oracle costs that were not within the six designated categories set forth under 28 U.S.C. secs. 1821 and 1920, but decided that the Act’s grant of “full costs” permitted the additional award. The Ninth Circuit upheld the award, creating a circuit split on the issue. The Court, in a unanimous decision by Justice Kavanaugh, resolved the split and reversed, holding that the Act’s permission of “full costs” was limited to the statutory categories already permitted under federal law. The Court reasoned that the existing federal statutes regarding bills of costs were “baseline,” and thus there must be specific Congressional authority to exceed those limits. The use of the word full only referred to those costs available under existing statute, and not any additional costs. A link to the opinion in Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle USA, Inc. is here.