Apple ordered to pay Samsung’s legal fees in failed UK patent suit

Apple’s legal team has had a rough go of it in the UK over the past few weeks. After losing a patent suit against Samsung, and then the ensuing appeal, the company was forced to write a public apology on its UK website.

Of course, Apple complied and posted the apology, but the judge wasn’t impressed with its snarky tone. So in addition to asking the iPad-makers to correct it, he’s also ordered them to pay Samsung’s legal fees…

Groklaw, a site that covers legal matters in the tech world, points to a new order by the UK court that says that since Apple failed to comply with its previous ruling, the company can go ahead and pay Samsung’s attorneys.

“31. As to the costs (lawyers’ fees) to be awarded against Apple, we concluded that they should be on an indemnity basis. Such a basis (which is higher than the normal, “standard” basis) can be awarded as a mark of the court’s disapproval of a party’s conduct, particularly in relation to its respect for an order of the court. Apple’s conduct warranted such an order.

31. Finally I should mention the time for compliance. Mr Beloff, on instructions (presumably given with the authority of Apple) told us that “for technical reasons” Apple needed fourteen days to comply. I found that very disturbing: that it was beyond the technical abilities of Apple to make the minor changes required to own website in less time beggared belief. In end we gave it 48 hours which in itself I consider generous. We said the time could be extended by an application supported by an affidavit from a senior executive explaining the reasons why more was needed. In the event no such application was made.”

The court was also unhappy with how long it took Apple to post its Samsung apology in UK newspapers. The original order was given on October 18th and was supposed to be carried out as soon as possible. It wasn’t. In the order, the judge noted, “I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple.”

Apparently, this sanction is the highest there is in the “loser pays” category in the UK, and Apple will have to pay for everything the lawyers billed to Samsung from day one of the trial. This not only includes legal fees, but parking, phone calls, and other miscellaneous charges. Yikes, that’s some expensive snark.

What do you think, was this a fair order from the UK court?