SAN FRANCISCO — Nokia Corp. and its lawyers at Alston & Bird are seeking compensation of roughly $1.2 million from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan for the lapse that resulted in confidential terms of an Apple-Nokia licensing deal being shared with Samsung executives.
Last month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal of the Northern District of California ordered Quinn Emanuel, which represents Samsung Electronics Co., to pay attorney fees and costs that Apple Inc., Nokia and their lawyers incurred litigating the sanctions motion. The dispute arose in a patent fight between Apple and Samsung Electronics Co.
Alston & Bird partners Randall Allen and Ryan Koppelman in Menlo Park and Patrick Flinn and B. Parker Miller in Atlanta submitted their request on Monday for $1,114,288.40 in attorney fees and $82,274.86 in costs. The request does not include the work of Nokia’s in-house lawyers, they said, and amounts to “a fraction of what Quinn Emanuel and Samsung have represented to the Court they have spent relating to their protective order violations.”
Nokia’s filing includes a detailed accounting, including 1,341 entries with times, billing rates and descriptions of each task performed in the case. Alston & Bird charged Nokia discounted hourly rates ranging from $256 to $720, according to the filing. The average hourly rate charged by partners was roughly $558 and the average for associates was about $328.
“The partners on this matter worked at a rate, on average, below the median rate for partners in the San Francisco area, as did the associates compared to their respective median,” the Alston lawyers stated, citing a billing survey conducted by the American Intellectual Property Law Association.
The discovery breach occurred in March 2012 when a Quinn Emanuel associate failed to redact confidential licensing terms from a lengthy expert report. The mistake went unchecked and ultimately the report was circulated to more than 200 people, according to court records.
Nokia learned of the leak during licensing negotiations with Samsung and brought the matter to the court’s attention in July 2013. Grewal faulted Quinn Emanuel for not catching the redaction error sooner and for not taking swift remedial action once it came to light. He ordered the firm to pay its adversaries’ fees and costs.
According to Allen, Alston & Bird attorneys shared their time sheets and conferred with Quinn Emanuel lawyers on Feb. 14, but were unable to reach accord. Among other objections, Samsung argued that Nokia’s fees were unreasonable because they exceed those sought by Apple, the Alston lawyers recounted. Apple filed its request Monday under seal.
Nokia noted that Samsung’s lawyers at Quinn Emanuel stayed at the same hotels and used comparable technologies in depositions. Quinn has represented that its attorney time and expenditures associated with the discovery breach top $9 million.
It is not surprising that Nokia’s fees exceed Apple’s, because the disclosures threatened its core patent licensing business, Nokia’s lawyers stated.
They added: “The irony, of course, is that Nokia’s fees and costs are largely a product of not only the original wrongful conduct, but also Quinn Emanuel and Samsung’s scorched earth litigation strategy that endeavored to hide the truth about their disclosures from the court and Nokia.”