Lawyers are laughing all the way to the bank. Like all technology companies that invest a lot in reaearch, Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) takes its intellectual property rights very seriously and zealously guards its patents. Even the slightest whiff of a patent violation gets its ante up and company is quick to file a lawsuit.
The direct beneficiaries of this trigger-happy attitude of the Cupertino company have been lawyers.
Acording to reports, Apple spent at least $32 million in a single patent-infringement dispute with Google's Motorola Mobility unit -- one among many legal fights that the company is fighting on four continents.
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It seems safe to assume that figure is an average that the company pays lawyers for representing it. So if you add them up, the company is paying hundreds of millions of dollars to lawyers in its quest to prove that Samsung Electronics Co., Motorola Mobility and HTC Corp. ripped off the iPhone.
Patent lawyers come very high up in the hierarchy as they represent transnational conglomerates who are willing to pay them a ransom for their services. These lawyers bill companies as much as $1200 an hour each daily.
Their job is not merely to reprsent their clients successfully but they also have to make the judges and jurors understand the intricacies of the patents which are under dispute, the technological details and the ramifications such violations have, not only on the companies but also for the industry as a whole.
Reports suggest that Apple has spent more than $2 million on expert witnesses alone for a trial in its case against Samsung in a federal court in San Jose, California.
Legal fees are seen as investments by the companies in their efforts to seize and defend share in a global smartphone market that grew 62 percent to over $200 billion last year.