Quinn Emanuel fined $2m for leaking Apple/Nokia deal

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and its client Samsung have been ordered to pay Apple and Nokia over $2m (£1.2m) in damages related to the leaking of confidential information. 

A US court ruled on June 20 that Samsung and Quinn Emanuel had to pay Nokia a total of $1.15m and Apple a total of $893,825, after documents intended for “attorneys’ eyes only” were leaked by Quinn.

The leak was first revealed by Samsung executive Seungho Ahn, who told Nokia’s chief intellectual property officer Paul Melin that he knew the terms of Nokia’s licence agreement with Apple. According to the filing, Ahn recited the terms and indicated that his lawyers had told him what they were. He added: “All information leaks.” 

The documents are understood to have contained key information relating to a long-running patent infringement bust-up between Samsung, Apple and Nokia. The smartphone giants have been locked in battle for years, after accusing each other of copying key features found in the iPhone and iPad.

Quinn Emanuel urged the court to “substantially reduce Apple’s and Nokia’s fee requests”, arguing that a full award would be unjust because Apple and Nokia had failed to protect their own information, accidentally publishing the terms of its licence on a public docket back in October. The argument was rejected by the court. 

The court also rejected Quinn Emanuel’s argument that the requested fees should be reduced to reflect Apple and Nokia’s “unnecessary work” and “limited success” on many claims. 

This is the latest blow for Samsung and its longstanding legal adviser Quinn Emanuel. In 2012 the pair lost a landmark patent case against arch-rival Apple with a US court ordering Samsung to pay $1bn (£655m) in damages for infringing several of the iPhone maker’s designs (28 August 2012).   

In a UK ruling months later, Apple was ordered to pay Samsung’s legal fees on an indemnity basis following a legal battle between the pair (12 November 2012). Court of Appeal judge Sir Robin Jacob found Apple’s attempts to publicly apologise to Samsung to be ‘misleading’ and ‘lackadaisical’. That came after the High Court ordered Apple to apologise to Samsung when it rejected a bid by the iPad maker to have sales of the Galaxy tablet banned (10 July 2012).

The global patents battle has handed work to Quinn Emanuel, Morrison & Foerster and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in the US, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Simmons & Simmons in the UK.