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Samsung loses again: Judge awards Apple, Nokia $2m in leak-investigation fees

'All information leaks' not a valid excuse, Sammy

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A US district court has awarded Apple and Nokia over $2m to reimburse them for legal fees incurred during their investigation of leaks of "attorneys' eyes only" information by Samsung's legal firm, Quinn Emanuel, during the long-running patent infringement dust-up among the companies.

US magistrate judge Paul Grewal is evidently sick to death of the whole business. "Samsung and QE object to certain of the fees Apple and Nokia now claim, which means the court must wade into the billing entries and make various calls," he wrote in his opinion. "So, here goes."

You can almost hear Grewal sigh.

The legal expenses were incurred by Apple and Nokia in their investigation of Quinn Emanuel's leak of Apple's patent agreements with Nokia, Sharp, Philips, and Ericsson to Samsung. QE had put the documents in question on an FTP server open to its employees, and as many as five Samsung execs were alleged to have received them by email.

The leak was disclosed when a loose-lipped Samsung exec, Seungho Ahn, in a meeting with Nokia, told the Finns that he knew of their patent deal with Cupertino. In a bit of stunning self-incrimination, Ahn was quoted by Nokia as saying "all information leaks."

When that statement came to light, Samsung said that it would investigate the patent-info leakage. Grewal, however, wasn't convinced. "Letting Samsung and its counsel investigate this situation without any court supervision is unlikely to produce satisfactory results," he wrote at the time. "Rarely is the fox permitted to investigate without supervision the disappearance of chickens at the henhouse."

Due to Samsung and Quinn Emanuel stonewalling the court's request for information about the leaks, Apple did its own investigation, then petitioned the court for Sammy and Quinn Emanuel to pay the resulting legal expenses. After determining that Samsung and their legal team were at fault, Grewal agreed to "wade into the billing entries." He reduced some of Apple and Nokia's claims, but in the end awarded Apple the precisely calculated figure of $893,825.77, and Nokia $1,145,027.95.

As one example of how nitpicky such legal machinations can get, Quinn Emanuel argued that it shouldn't have to pay for "Nokia meals and transportation expenses" during their investigation of the leak. Grewal denied that petition, saying that "Subsistence and transportation are commonly accepted costs of business travel."

Samsung and Apple are still sparring in court, with John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel reportedly sniping at Apple that "It's kind of hard to talk settlement with a jihadist." May we suggest that should you run into magistrate judge Grewal at a local watering hole, buy the poor unfortunate soul a shot or three. ®

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