Apple Asking for $16M in Legal Fees After Samsung Patent Victory, Has Paid Lawyers More Than $60M
Apple says that its lawsuit with Samsung is "an exceptional case" and that there was overwhelming evidence that "Samsung deliberately copied every aspect of Apple's revolutionary iPhone product". After juries awarded Apple $930 million in damages, the company argues that it "should not be forced to bear the full expense of prosecuting its claims".
In its filing, Apple says it expects to pay more than $60 million to Morrison & Foerster, its outside counsel, over the course of the case through the end of the retrial. However, that $60 million calculation, and Apple's motion request, are calculated only for "timekeepers who billed more than $100,000 for work on Apple's claims against Samsung". Further, Apple is only requesting reimbursement for one-third of its calculated billings, or $16 million.
By seeking only one-third of its fees from timekeepers who billed more than $100,000, Apple ensures that it is not recovering fees for its unsuccessful claims concerning the unregistered combination iPhone trade dress or for tablet design. First, the only differences between the unregistered iPhone 3G trade dress on which Apple did prevail and the combination iPhone trade dress is that the latter lacks two of the iPhone 3G trade dress elements (a metallic bezel around the flat clear surface and a row of small dots on the display screen) and also covers “neutral (black or white) borders” rather than the black borders covered by the 3G trade dress. Thus, the same work would have been required to address the iPhone 3G trade dress even if the combination trade dress had not been at issue. The only possible additional work required by having the combination trade dress in the case was whatever might have been required to address "neutral (black or white) borders" in addition to "black borders." Apple’s request for only one-third of fees from timekeepers who billed more than $100,000 ensures that any such minimal fees are not included in its request.
A rumor from the beginning of 2012 suggested that Apple had spent in excess of $100 million in legal fees in its first set of claims against HTC. With Apple holding nearly $150 billion in cash, and with so much at stake, even these incredibly large billings are unlikely to slow the flurry of international patent lawsuits.
Separately, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a lawsuit to determine what kinds of software are eligible for patent protection. Oral arguments in the case, Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank should be heard in March with a ruling expected by the end of June.