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Apple Must Pay Samsung's UK Legal Fees: Lessons for GCs

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on November 15, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Apple v. Samsung battle continues around the world. But in the UK, the matter has been decided, and it has gone poorly for Apple.

In the final outcome of the UK case between the rival tech companies, Apple is being forced to pay Samsung's legal fees. A UK court ruled in favor of Samsung earlier this year, but it is Apple's more recent behavior that led to the order to pay the opposing party's fees.

Granted, it's much more common in the UK for the losing side to pay court fees, but there are still a few lessons American lawyers can learn from Apple's UK mistakes.

As part of the court's original ruling, Apple was required to post a notice on its website saying that Samsung's products did not infringe on Apple's designs, reports Apple Insider. But the actual notice that Apple posted didn't exactly convey that message.

Instead, it referenced the UK court's decision, but also said that other courts had concluded differently. The message wasn't clear as to whether Samsung had infringed on Apple's designs.

When the issue came to light, the court ordered Apple to post a new notice with an apology. But the judge also required that Apple pay Samsung's court fees for posting "false innuendo" that sought to "undermine" the court's order.

Even in U.S. courts, this kind of behavior could have resulted in the losing side paying attorneys' fees -- or at least a strong reprimand for Apple's lawyers.

In important litigation, it's your job to fight for your client to the best of your ability. That can mean voicing your disagreement to a judge, but it should never mean being rude to the court.

It's not just your in-court actions that can constitute disrespect. Failure to follow a court order, both in letter and in spirit, can be considered an act of rudeness toward the court.

The appropriate way to handle a court order you disagree with is to contest the decision. If that's not possible, it's best to accept the decision and move on.

If Apple had posted an appropriate notice on its UK website, the matter most likely would have ended there. Instead, the company must now pay additional fees and has received a lot of bad publicity. Samsung now looks like the "good guy" in this case as Apple gets stuck with the bill..

The time to duke it out with a courtroom opponent is while a matter is still being litigated in court. If Apple's UK case is any example, fighting back after a court's decision is made could end up costing your company.

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