Apple Ordered To Give Samsung Info About HTC Deal
November 22, 2012

Judge Orders Apple To Disclose Information Regarding HTC Deal

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

Apple has been ordered by a federal judge in its patent lawsuit against Samsung to give up information about the terms of a settlement with HTC Corp., according to various media reports.

The company was ordered Tuesday by US Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose, California that financial terms of licensing agreements for other third parties must be disclosed in the patent-infringement case between Apple and Samsung.

"Many third parties to this case have had their licensing agreements disclosed subject to an attorneys-eyes-only designation because the confidential financial terms were clearly relevant to the dispute between Apple and Samsung," court documents said according to the Wall Street Journal.

Grewal ordered Apple to produce a copy of the agreement under an "attorneys-eyes-only" designation, ensuring that the public would not be able to get their eyes on it as well.

“HTC is not entitled to special treatment, especially when it has recognized the general sufficiency of the protective order and the integrity of Samsung´s outside counsel,” Grewal wrote in the ruling.

Apple won a $1.05 billion patent-infringement verdict back in August during a jury trial against Samsung. A December 6 hearing of Apple's attempt to permanently ban US sales on eight Samsung smartphones models and the Tab 10.1 tablet computer has been set.

Samsung argued the terms of the licensing agreement to be "highly relevant" to Apple's request for an order blocking US sales of its smartphones.

"According to Samsung, the settlement agreement undermines Apple's assertion that an injunction is a more appropriate remedy than money damages," the filing said according to the Journal. "Apple responds that it is willing to provide the settlement agreement but notes that HTC objects to the production of the agreement's financial terms because of their competition value."

Bloomberg reports that a Samsung layer told Grewal that if HTC agreed to pay Apple a small sum for licenses of patents at issue in the San Jose case, it could be used to undermine Apple's argument that it has suffered "irreparable harm."  However, Samsung's impact on the smartphone industry has made a bigger impact than HTC, so this argument could still stand, despite what HTC paid out.

Apple settled all of its global lawsuits with HTC back on November 10, and agreed to a 10-year licensing deal.

The Foss Patents blog argues that Apple's deal with HTC could harm its attempts to seek an injunction, because the patents in question could be licensed.