Apple Pushes for $15.7M Legal Fee Reimbursement from Samsung

Apple filed a request with the court late on Thursday requesting Samsung reimburse US$15.7 million of its legal fees in their patent infringement fight. The request isn't common in cases like this, although Apple thinks it's justified based on Samsung's willful mobile device patent infringement.

Apple wants a $15.7 million reimbursement from Samsung for legal expensesApple wants a $15.7 million reimbursement from Samsung for legal expenses

Apple's filing says the company is warranted in asking for the payment because it won nearly all of its claims against Samsung, but wasn't found to infringe on any of Samsung's patents. Apple went on to say that Samsung's infringement was "willful, deliberate, and calculated," and that the company has benefitted commercially from its infringement, according to FOSS Patents.

Instead of asking for a full reimbursement from Samsung, Apple chose to limit its request to legal fees up through March 1, 2013, and for timekeepers that billed more than $100,00 while excluding is own costs for successfully defending itself.

The legal expenses are part of Apple and Samsung's patent infringement fight that led to a Jury verdict in August 2012 saying that Samsung willfully infringed on a long list of Apple patents while Apple didn't infringe on Samsung's.

Apple was awarded over US$1 billion in damages, but part of that was improperly calculated. A retrial to determine the total damages just wrapped up, leaving Apple with a new total up over $900,000.

The $15.7 million figure accounts for a third of Apple's legal expenses leading up to March 1 and doesn't include any fees from the retrial. Considering how much money Apple spent overall, and the fact that the company is limiting the scope of its request, the filing seems reasonable on its surface.

"I don't think anyone can reasonably argue that Apple's $15.7 million demand is excessive," Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents said. "The real hurdle here is that any award of attorneys' fees, regardless of the amount, is a steep challenge due to the 'American Rule.'"

The American Rule refers to a practice where companies are typically denied their request for legal fee reimbursement from the losing parties except in very limited situations. Apple noted such cases in its filing where companies were awarded more money that Apple is asking for, but were economically smaller in scope.

The request will now go before Judge Lucy Koh who has been overseeing the patent fight between Apple and Samsung. There isn't any word yet on how she might rule.