A High Court judge has ordered Allen & Overy (A&O) and McDermott Will & Emery to estimate their costs before an intellectual property (IP) trial, showing judicial unease over the cost of UK litigation.
The firms will have to disclose how much they intend to bill clients BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) and tech company Visto in an upcoming High Court dispute.
The dispute is related to a similar case that hit the courts in April 2008, where A&O had racked up £6m of fees for RIM compared with Taylor Wessing’s £1m bill for Visto.
In a costs judgment, Mr Justice Arnold cited Mr Justice Floyd’s damning judgment on A&O’s £6m fees in the previous dispute.
“As ;Floyd ;J observed, and I agree, that was a quite staggering disparity,” he said. “As he also observed, and again I agree, it’s astonishing that a sum of the order of £6m can have been spent by RIM in fighting those proceedings.”
Arnold J added that A&O’s costs in the previous cases showed that the traditional approach to costs control was “inadequate and unsatisfactory”.