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Apple paid its lawyers over $60 million to beat Samsung in court

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Fifth Avenue Apple Store Cube 2011
Fifth Avenue Apple Store Cube 2011

The damages retrial for last year's Apple vs. Samsung legal battle recently wrapped, and new court documents reveal how much Cupertino paid its legal team to get its wins: over $60 million. The revelations come as Apple requests that Samsung reimburse a portion of those legal costs. According to recent court filings, Apple wants its rival to pay a third of that, coming out to more than $15.7 million in attorney's fees — and that's on top of the over $6.2 million in trial-related costs Samsung is already on the hook for.

Reimbursing attorney's fees isn't a given

Apple primarily employed two law firms for its case: Morrison & Foerster, LLP handled the offensive side of the battle, while Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP covered the company's defense against Samsung's own claims of patent infringement. According to the documents, WilmerHale billed for around $2 million, where Apple expects to pay Morrison & Foerster $60 million all on its own — and that's with the fee reduced due to the firm's longstanding relationship with Apple. "Apple's in-house attorneys managed this case to a very disciplined budget," attorney Rachel Krevans writes in the filing. "As a result of all of these efforts and reductions, the hours underlying the fees at issue are reasonable." While reimbursing attorney's fees isn't a given in these kinds of cases, Apple is arguing that it's entitled to the payout under the Lanham Act due to what it characterizes as Samsung's "willful" misconduct.

A $100,000 'secure room'

What is standard is reimbursement for the various trial-related costs incurred during the process, including transcriptions, discovery expenses, and translators. In an additional set of filings, Apple offers a glimpse into where some of that $6.2 million went. Apple is asking for approximately $100,000 for the expense of setting up a "secure room" where Samsung's team was able to examine unreleased Apple prototypes, for example, while over $1.5 million is earmarked between the two firms for photocopying documents during the discovery process.

Judge Lucy Koh has yet to rule on Apple's motion for attorney's fees, though given that she previously decided Samsung's infringement wasn't willful it's not likely a point Apple is going to win. Given the more than $900 million Samsung already must pay Cupertino, however, the difference is negligible either way. Then again, this is Apple and Samsung we're talking about, and with another trial on the horizon for next year there's no telling what could happen next.