Sony Communications International AB vs SSH Communications Security Corporation

15 December 2016

Roger Wyand QC, sitting as a deputy High Court Judge, gave a decision on the order for costs to be made following the trial of the action between Sony Communications International AB and SSH Communications Security Corporation.

Cases with a value over £10 million, as this case was, do not automatically fall within the cost budgeting rules but SSH had applied for an order that the rules should apply because it was concerned that Sony, with its greater resources, might make the litigation very expensive.  The Judge had agreed and made the order.

Sony, having succeeded in the action overall, sought to be allowed to increase the budget figure for certain phases of the litigation in respect of which it exceeded its budget by a relatively large margin.  In particular, Sony overspent on expert evidence by a factor of more than 2.5. SSH, of course, opposed this.  The Judge permitted Sony to increase its budget, and therefore how much it could recover from SSH, when he felt it was fair to do so, following propositions taken from Henry v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 19.

An interesting feature of the case was that Sony’s budget had included two extra columns not required by the rules which indicated an apportionment of costs between the infringement action and the validity action.  This became important because Sony succeeded on validity and failed on infringement.  The Judge did not hold Sony to the original apportionment figures but agreed to amend them to reflect the reality of the case.

The full decision is available here.

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