Apple, Samsung Facing Astronomical Legal Fees

By Andrew Lu on August 27, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The only sure winners in the Apple Samsung patent battle were the lawyers and the astronomical legal fees they racked up.

As you probably know by now, Apple gave Samsung a historic courtroom beat down over a host of patents used in smartphones and tablets. Basically, Apple said Samsung was a copycat and they were vindicated in a U.S. court.

However, despite the victory, it's unclear just how the court's ruling will truly benefit Apple. Technology changes in a blink of an eye, and a patent worth billions today may be useless tomorrow. Nevertheless, Apple won its case, and the lawyers for both sides won too if the reported legal fees are any indication.

The exact amount that the lawyers made are unclear, but some suggest that the law firms involved may have made off with $500 million combined, reports The Wall Street Journal. More conservative estimates say that the firms involved may have made $10 to $20 million apiece.

The firms who likely received the most legal fees in the Apple Samsung case were Morrison & Foerster LLP and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP, the legal team for Apple, and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, lead counsel for Samsung.

Court documents indicate that some Morrison Foerster partners and of counsel billed a median rate of $582 an hour, while some Quinn Emanuel partners billed on average $821 per hour, reports the Journal.

While these legal fees may seem enormous, most experts seem to agree that it was money well spent. After all, the two companies had billions at stake in the litigation.

So what is the takeaway from the Apple Samsung case and the legal fees paid out? If you're an attorney just starting off or are currently in law school, you may want to steer in the direction of patent law. With the economy seemingly centered around technology, the fight over customers and patents will likely generate huge legal fees for many years to come.

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