Samsung Doesn't Have to Pay Apple Attorney Fees Because iPhone wasn't Famous

Apple's bid to make Samsung pay US$16 million for attorney fees it racked up in the 2012 trial accusing the electronics maker of copying the iPhone's design was shot down by Federal Judge Lucy Koh this week. The Judge said one of the reasons Samsung doesn't need to cover Apple's attorney costs was because the iPhone's design wasn't famous before the copycat devices were made.

Judge Koh says Samsung doesn't have to pay Apple's legal fees in 2012 patent infringement fightJudge Koh says Samsung doesn't have to pay Apple's legal fees in 2012 patent infringement fight

Apple and Samsung' epic 2012 patent infringement court battle ended with a Federal Jury saying Samsung infringed on a long list of iPhone and iPad design patents, while Apple didn't infringe on any of Samsung's. Apple was awarded over $900 million in damages that hasn't been paid yet because Samsung appealed the ruling.

Apple followed up by asking the court to shift its legal expenses to Samsung, but Judge Koh said that even though the company was found to willfully copy the iPhone and iPad look, that wasn't enough to add Apple's attorney bill to their payout. She said that along with willfully copying Apple's designs, Samsung needed to show some form of bad faith, too.

Even though there was evidence to to support Apple's argument, the question about whether or not the iPhone's look was already well known when Samsung copied it was enough to convince Judge Koh to deny the payment request. "The fact that the court found the famousness of Apple's trade dresses to be 'a close question' is, by itself, sufficient for the court to deny Apple's motion for attorneys' fees," she said, according to The Recorder.

For Apple, the ruling is just salt in the wound, but for Samsung, it's yet another point it can use in the future to help back up its argument that the Galaxy smartphone lineup evolved independently and only coincidentally looks like the iPhone.

Apple hasn't commented on Judge Koh's ruling.