SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung and its lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan must pay more than $2 million to compensate Apple and Nokia for the firestorm of litigation that followed a leak of confidential business information, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Laying to rest one of the last offshoots of Apple and Samsung's original patent brawl, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal ordered the South Korean company and its law firm to fork over $1,145,027 for Nokia's attorney fees and costs as well as $893,825 for Apple's. Grewal ruled in January that Quinn Emanuel deserved sanctions for giving Samsung details about the terms of a license struck between Apple and Nokia.
Ruling over protests from Quinn Emanuel, Grewal found that most of the attorney fees and costs requested by Apple and Nokia were reasonable and well-documented. He reasoned that Apple and Nokia were right to litigate fiercely after the leak of confidential information came to light.
"This was not a case where the parties tested a wild legal theory, or pushed the bounds of a subjective standard in seeking sanctions," Grewal wrote. "Apple and Nokia had concrete evidence indicating wrongdoing at the time the motion was brought."
Spokeswomen for Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. declined to comment on the order. Nokia did not respond to a request for comment.
Quinn Emanuel founder John Quinn vowed to keep fighting.
"We're going to be appealing this order," he said.
Grewal resisted most of Quinn Emanuel's bids to prune Apple and Nokia's bills. After learning that Apple had also failed to redact the terms of its license with Nokia, Quinn howled that Cupertino-based Apple did not deserve full fees if it could not protect its own information. But Grewal reiterated his view that Apple's own missteps were irrelevant.
Grewal also disagreed with Quinn Emanuel about Apple and Nokia's track record, finding that the companies had performed well enough to recover fees. In his order earlier this year, Grewal agreed with Apple and Nokia that Quinn Emanuel and Samsung violated the protective order and did not do enough to address the breach, though he was not convinced that the South Korean company had used the confidential information.
"Apple and Nokia succeeded on most of their claims, and the court declines to reduce its fee award to indicate anything less," Grewal wrote.
The cloud is handy when it comes to storing medical records, as it offers hospital staff almost limitless access and storage. But it can also present a bit of a thunderstorm when it comes to patient privacy. Richard Kellner, cofounder of Kabateck Brown Kellner, in a story in The Recorder, LTN’s sister publication, points out some of the areas in which the cloud may rain on your liability parade:
The Confidentiality of Medical Information Act: Kellner said the CMIA provides a mechanism for collecting statutory damages. Each unauthorized release of a medical record or information may be subject to a $1,000 penalty under the CMIA, and, recently, the California Court of Appeal for the Second District reaffirmed the broad scope of it, in Regents of University of California v. Superior Court. “The court ruled that the term 'release' under the CMIA includes negligence that has made the medical records accessible to third parties,” Kellner explained.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: Under HIPAA, medical organizations and providers must safeguard health information and records from both unintentional and negligent disclosure, said Kellner. The act also requires them to have systems in place to prevent this from happening, even when using outside vendors. “The hospital or medical provider has a nondelegable duty under the law to make sure that the confidentiality of medical records is maintained,” he explained.
Attorney Marlisse Silver Sweeney is a freelance writer based in Vancouver. Email: MarlisseSilverSweeney@gmail.com. Twitter: @MarlisseSS; LTN: @lawtechnews.
Attorney and technologist Julie Pearl can give the Energizer bunny a run for its money. Her resume gives you a clue to her high-octane personality: bachelor's from Stanford, master's from Harvard and a law degree from the University of California-Hastings College of the Law. She's also the former California deputy attorney general.
In 1995, she founded The Pearl Law Group, a San Francisco-based immigration law firm, with Alan Nelson, the former head of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. But she's the first to tell you that the secret to her success is technology—and a terrific staff.
Pearl and J. Craig Williams, founder of The Williams Law Corp. in Southern California, presented the opening panel on Tuesday at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles. The presentation was the first of three in a new LegalTech track: "Exploiting the New Legal Ecosystem." The fast-based discussion, "Can Tech Save Fuel Small Firms?" focused on how both lawyers base their practices on a foundation of technology.
In Pearl's case, it wasn't just buying existing technology to fuel her law practice. She also runs a separate technology company that creates apps and other technologies to help lawyers automate repetitive tasks to bring down costs for their clients and provide quality control. Within three years of opening her shop, she developedImmigrationTracker software, a management system that is widely used, even by her competitors, she notes.
From day one, Pearl told the audience, she never billed a client by the hour. Among the keys to her success: "Lots and lots of templates," she said. And Pearl is constantly looking for new ways to trim costs. For example, the firm uses email auto-responders to keep clients informed of the status of their matters. "Streamlining the process for clients is crucial," she said. Her philosophy is to provide transparency and self-help to her clients. "We use [Microsoft Excel] pivot tables to help clients get info as they want it," she said. "We let the clients 'own' a piece of it, so they don't have to do their own spreadsheets," Pearl explained.
The firm also makes a habit of getting feedback from clients. "We go back to the clients to see what else we can do with data. Any improvements?" she said.
One of the most interesting points she raised was how technology can actually create more work that otherwise would be deemed too expensive to process if done manually. For example, the cost to manually review I-9 forms would far exceed the cost of fixing the inevitable typos or mistakes, so a risk-management assessment would be to not spend the money to proof them, and just react to mistakes as they become visible. But a machine can catch those typos and automatically fix them—and flag other errors—at a very low cost. Thus, the automation actually generates billable work that otherwise would have been lost and could have embarrassed the firm when mistakes were spotted by clients. "Machines can catch errors," said Pearl.
Williams' business is litigation, not transactions, so he has a somewhat different agenda than Pearl. But both lawyers' firms also rely heavily on off-the-shelf technologies, in addition to using custom technology. Pearl said her team relies on Trello, Salesforce, Skype and other tools. Those technologies help her attain her goal of allowing most employees to work two or three days a week off-site, which enhances productivity, she has learned, by reducing commute time and other distractions. Plus, it can be a recruiting incentive. "We are heavily leveraging technology to enable work from home," she said. "We will lose our best talent if we don't allow work from home."
Whether large or small firm, "you have to bring in the business," noted Williams, who has worked in Big Law and in a small law firm. He started at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, then started his own firm; he later spent three years with Sedgwick before returning to his own firm in 2012. For marketing, Williams has been an active blogger, and has a long-running (nine years) twice-monthly podcast called "Lawyer to Lawyer," with Boston solo Robert Ambrogi, on the Legal Talk Network. The podcast, he told the audience, has been a very effective marketing tool, reaching an audience far beyond his local region.
By effectively and nimbly using technology, "I think I'm more capable as a solo than at a 2,000-lawyer firm," said Williams. Big Law, for example, can't add a new technology on the fly like a small firm can because of the sheer logistics, he noted. "It's hard for large firms to change tech because of size. With a 15-attorney firm: I buy it, plug it in, and we are ready to go."
When Google set out to build a self-driving car, it first had to map the physical world. In short, Google had to figure out how to make a red light hanging from a pole—or a person crossing the street—into something a computer could understand and act on. To do this, a myriad of analog data points need to be gathered—by radar, GPS, and other sensors—before they can be turned into the digital signals that can be compared and analyzed. It’s this key infrastructure, akin to building a digital map of an analog world, that enables truly revolutionary technology.
In fact, this process has repeated itself countless times in the digital age. Things that were once analog—phone books, bulletin boards, even photos—have undergone a transformation into new digital forms, which are capable of being understood and manipulated by computers. Once data is in a format that a computer is able to understand, the possibilities are endless—books can be copied and distributed in nanoseconds, bulletin boards become places for global commerce, and photos can be copied and edited in ways that were never possible with a purely physical medium.
Law has not escaped this trend. Projects such as LegalXML and Akoma Ntoso have realized the value of having legal documents in machine-readable format and have set forth standards by which lawyers or administrators might markup the documents they produce. This markup is then readable by machines and can be manipulated once it is in the specified format.
The problem thus far in law has not been the lack of purported standards for data entry, but rather that many documents have not made it in to any machine-readable standard at all. The reasons for this are perhaps obvious—formatting data in a machine-readable way takes additional effort and many lawyers simply don’t have time. Additionally, many lawyers are averse to technology to begin with, and even if they do see the benefits on the horizon, it’s hard to move off the starting block where it won’t make a difference in handling the case on their desk at the moment.
We propose that this problem is simply too important to be left up to lawyers alone. Lawyers need to reach out to technologists and get their help in figuring out ways to bring machine-readable documents into every day practice. There are people doing great work in this field already, like the State Decoded and the Madison Projectfrom OpenGov. They are making great progress for legislation and statutes.
It’s time for the legal profession as a whole to catch up.
How can we do better? One way forward might be to implement tools that will make the process for gathering and formatting legal documents automatic. For instance, now that some of these projects are putting legal documents up on the web as text (and we’re even seeing governments like the City of San Francisco join this trend), it might make sense to have a tool that can take the raw text of documents and use the work that others have done as a jumping off point for adding more useful context and formatting automatically.
The Restatement project is an effort to move in that direction (disclosure: the authors all participate). It is a free, open source effort to create a standard—and more importantly, a method for getting documents into that standard—for legal text on the web. It works by taking existing text (even in Microsoft Word document form) and using a parser to extract additional information from the raw text, enabling more functionality.
One example of how Restatement works, in the transactional law context, is Series Seed documents. These have been up on GitHub for quite some time. They are a set of open source financing documents for use by startups in raising seed capital that have been widely adopted for by the startup and venture capital community. By parsing the Series Seed documents with Restatement, additional layers of functionality are unlocked. For instance, instead of merely having access to the documents, the Series Seed documents when passed through this project can be manipulated and filled out online.
In a way, what’s currently missing from the legal technology landscape is the Google StreetView cars that drive around America, sucking in data and pictures from every conceivable point and capturing the physical world in digital form. Everyone seems to agree that the potential for a sea change in the legal profession is enormous. There are a number of technologies, from artificial intelligence, like IBM Watson to new search algorithms for case law, to advanced document automation programs, that could dramatically alter the landscape of the profession itself.