UK court orders Apple to pay Samsung’s lawyers on an indemnity basis

An appeal court in the United Kingdom hearing Apple vs. Samsung patent case ordered on Friday that the Cupertino-based tech giant has to pay legal fees of the latter’s lawyers following Judge Robin Jacobs’ finding that Apple lacked integrity, especially in the public apology it posted on its website, and that it was reluctant in carrying out court’s order.

Jacobs believe the statement posted on Apple’s UK webpage was false and misleading. Thus, a decision has been made that, as a sort of punishment, the company has to pay Samsung’s legal counsel on an “indemnity basis.” While money may never be a problem for the company, especially that Samsung has to pay over $1 billion after losing in the US, the court’s order may just add to the humiliation the company already suffered following its widely criticized apology.

“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,” Jacobs’ statement reads.

The first statement posted on Apple UK’s website, many didn’t consider it as an apology. Rather, it was more of a criticism to UK court’s findings that Samsung devices didn’t infringe its design patents. When Jacobs ordered the company to revise the post, Apple’s lawyers told him it would take 14 days to be able to make changes but he didn’t fall for it. An order was issued that obliged the company to revise its apology within 48 hours. The second statement was more appropriate but in order to lessen the humiliation, Apple put the link to its apology at the very bottom of its website forcing everyone to scroll down to find it.

There had only been a few cases in the UK history where losers are ordered to pay everything. Groklaw reported that this could even be the highest sanction a company could ever receive for showing reluctance in complying court orders. Its newly-acquired obligation does not stop in paying Samsung lawyers’ fees but also phone calls, parking or anything that could be reimbursed since day one.

To recap, Sir Robin Jacobs come up with a decision that obliges Apple to pay the cost of Samsung’s legal fees. The duration of the publication of its apology on select newspapers and magazines should be stopped until the court says so. It has also been specified that the statement published online would remain until December 15th and the link from the homepage should be visible.

“Given our finding that the Contested Notice did not comply with our order and did not achieve what was intended there was no dispute but that we should order it be removed. There was dispute as to what should go up in its place. Apple contended that no more was needed on its home page. We thought otherwise. The Contested Notice had had over a million hits. It was necessary that the fact it was misleading be brought home. Only a notice on Apple’s homepage could be sure to do that. We were of course conscious that a notice on the homepage was highly undesirable from Apple’s point of view, but its own actions had made it necessary.”

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