December 12, 2018
As reported by Law 360, Shuffle Tech LLC ("Shuffle Tech"), a company which produces automatic card shufflers, has sought more than USD$19 million in lawyers’ fees in light of a court win with a USD$315 million award.
Shuffle Tech successfully claimed that one of its competitors, Scientific Games, had initiated fake patent litigation to keep Shuffle Tech out of the market thereby gaining a monopoly. Scientific Games is based in Las Vegas, Nevada and provides both technology and services to government-run lotteries and casinos.
In the early 2010s, just after Shuffle Tech presented its card-shuffling device for the first time, SHFL Entertainment Inc. (which was later purchased by Scientific Games) brought a patent infringement suit against three companies with whom Shuffle Tech had collaborated: DigiDeal Corp., Aces Up Gaming Inc., and Poydras-Talrick Holdings LLC. In defending against Scientific Games’ allegations, Shuffle Tech was forced to spend the initial $1 million investment it had received and eventually had to cease production of its machines and sell its intellectual property.
In April of 2015, Shuffle Tech sued Scientific Games, alleging that SHFL Entertainment Inc. had been using patent litigation to illegally monopolize the market and that the patent infringement suit was contingent on patents which were unenforceable. In September of 2017, US District Judge Kennelly denied Scientific Games’ bid for summary judgment over Shuffle Tech’s claim. Though the parties engaged in settlement discussions, they were ultimately unsuccessful in reaching a resolution and discussions fell apart earlier this year.
After a jury awarded USD$105 million to Shuffle Tech (an award which a federal judge tripled to USD$315 million), Shuffle Tech is seeking USD$16.4 million for its lawyers’ billed hours and more than USD$2.7 million for other expenses that are a reasonable result of litigating “highly complex technical, patent, and antitrust issues.”
It remains to be seen whether the full amount of the fees requested by Shuffle Tech will be awarded.