Apple's Legal Fees Rumored to Top $100M on HTC Patent Dispute Alone
In his biography, Steve Jobs was so infuriated by Android's similarities to the iPhone that he swore to spend all the money Apple had in the bank to defeat the platform. Newsweek columnist Dan Lyons passes along a rumor that Apple has spent $100 million in legal fees on just its first set of claims against HTC.
Who knows if it’s true, but if so, Apple didn’t get a lot for its money.
[Against HTC,] Apple started out with 10 patents — presumably its best ones — and ended up with a tiny victory on just one. Was that worth $100 million?
Apple certainly can afford the legal fees, and shows no sign of letting up.
HTC has two claims pending against Apple with the ITC as well, the first one due for a decision next month and the second in April 2013. And then there are other claims, all over the world, against HTC, Samsung and Motorola.
But, Lyons notes, HTC, Samsung and Motorola are all countersuing Apple with their own patent claims and Apple already lost a major lawsuit to Nokia and had to pay the Finnish company not insignificant royalties its own patent infringement.
Apple has hired some of the best -- and most expensive -- patent litigators in the world and, after several years of legal wrangling (and many more to come), doesn't have much to show for it.
Lyons points out that whether the $100 million figure is accurate doesn't really matter. Apple and all the other cell makers are simply jockeying for position and trying to gain leverage for what is likely an inevitable legal settlement. "In that sense, whatever Apple is spending on legal fees is probably money well spent," notes Lyons.
Tomorrow, Apple will announce the most recent quarter's additions to its cash pile, which totaled more than $80 billion three months ago. Apple can easily afford many more years of massive legal bills.