Apple's legal bill in Samsung fight $60M and counting

Costs keep rising for both sides and the patent case continues

Apple has incurred legal costs of over US$60 million in its court battle against Samsung in California, and the bill is still rising.

The figure was revealed in filings made late Thursday by Apple's lawyers with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as part of Apple's demand that Samsung should pay a portion of its legal expenses.

"Apple has paid or expects to pay Morrison & Foerster approximately $60 million for its work on this case through the damages retrial," the filing said, referring to Apple's main law firm. "Apple also has paid or expects to pay approximately $2 million to Wilmer Hale for its fees in the damages retrial," it added, referring to a second company it has been using.

The figures only include those who had billed more than $100,000 in charges thus far in the case, so the actual bill is likely to be higher.

The legal bill is all the more impressive given Apple's assertion that its lawyers offered "substantial discounts" to the company. The per-hour rate of the top-paid Apple lawyer was redacted from the public version of the filing, but Apple said it paid "generally less than the rates that Samsung has paid for lawyers at Quinn Emanuel with comparable experience."

Apple sued Samsung on April 15, 2011, for infringement of several smartphone patents. The case went to a jury trial in August 2012, part of which was repeated in a retrial in November. The case has seen tens of thousands of pages of documents filed with the court and hundreds of hours of argument in the courtroom. Often, both sides had at least 10 lawyers in court as part of the battle.

The two jury trials have come down heavily in Apple's favor and to date $930 million of fines have been imposed on Samsung.

Apple is asking the court to make Samsung pay $15.7 million to cover one-third of its legal expenses of $47.2 million that had been incurred until March 1, 2013.

The two sides are expected to appear in court to argue the issue of legal fees sometime in early 2014. That appearance will, of course, further increase the legal bill to both sides and it's only one of several actions expected to be taken in 2014.

In addition to appeals and further hearings in the current case, a second patent infringement suit filed by Apple against Samsung is expected in front of a jury in March 2014. The claims mirror some of those from the first case but concern newer models of smartphone and tablet.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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