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November 23, 2012

Apple Ordered to Reveal HTC Deal Details to Rival Samsung

Samsung has won a major victory in its ongoing patent war with arch-rival Apple.

U.S. District Court judge Paul Grewal has ordered Apple to divulge to Samsung the details of its settlement with HTC, which included a 10-year licensing agreement.

Samsung and Apple are embroiled in a patent fracas in 10 countries as each accuses the other of copying one another’s mobile devices.

The war between the two companies began in earnest in August after a jury ruled Samsung had infringed on Apple’s patents, awarding the iPhone maker $1.05 billion. In light of its billion-dollar victory, Apple has been seeking a ban on the sale of Samsung’s Android-powered devices.

Grewal’s Nov. 21 decision, however, has made such a ban less likely. In his decision, Grewal said Apple cannot claim Samsung’s violations of its patents make a U.S. ban of its products necessary but agree to a deal with HTC that allows similar products to enter the American market.

Arguments by Apple and HTC that releasing the details of their agreement could be detrimental to their respective businesses did not cut any ice with Grewal either.

“Many third parties to this case have had their licensing agreements disclosed  — without any redaction of financial terms  — subject to an Attorneys-Eyes-Only designation because confidential financial terms were clearly relevant to the dispute between Apple and Samsung,” Grewal wrote in his decision.

“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.

“Accordingly, Samsung’s motion to compel production of an unredacted version of the settlement agreement is granted. Apple shall produce the unredacted document without delay subject to an Attorneys-Eyes-Only designation under the protective order already in place in this case.”