Ruling: Apple Must Show HTC Licensing Settlement to Samsung
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has been directed by a California judge to turn over details of its mobile device licensing settlement with HTC to Samsung, although the documents will be reserved “for attorneys eyes only,” leaving the details out of public view.
According to reports, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose, Calif., noting that in prior patent infringement cases financial terms of licensing agreements for related third parties have been divulged, ordered Apple to produce a copy of the agreement for Samsung’s attorneys to examine.
Two years ago Apple sued HTC in its first legal swipe against the Android operating system, a case that served as the prelude to its current patent infringement war with Samsung. Apple’s case with HTC, which was settled Nov. 10, resulted in a global, 10-year licensing agreement. Reports were that the Taiwan-based mobile device maker agreed to pay Apple $6 to $8 per Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android-based phone, which HTC chief executive Peter Chou later dismissed as wildly incorrect, using the word “outrageous” to describe the estimate. At the time of the settlement, neither company disclosed the agreement’s details.
“I think that these estimates are baseless and very, very wrong. It is a outrageous number, but I’m not going to comment anything on a specific number. I believe we have a very, very happy settlement and a good ending,” Chou was quoted as saying.
In asking Judge Grewal to disclose the terms of the Apple HTC settlement, Samsung argued the details were “highly relevant” to Apple’s motion to bar U.S. sales of Samsung’s smartphones, according to reports. The squabble over producing the agreement centered on disclosing the financial arrangement.
The Korean manufacturer’s attorneys contended that if the Apple HTC financial agreement contained a licensing accord, the foundation of Apple’s argument to bar U.S. sales of Samsung’s devices — that it had been irreparably harmed by such activities — would slip away.
Judge Grewal recently allowed Apple to add Samsung’s Galaxy Note, the U.S. edition of the Galaxy S III smartphone and the Android 4.1 operating system to its second round intellectual property rights claims, while Samsung can include the iPhone 5.
Three months ago, a jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in ruling that Samsung violated six Apple patents. In October, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh lifted the preliminary ban she imposed in June on Samsung’s U.S. sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, following Apple’s move to file court documents claiming that 21 Samsung devices — including smartphones, media players and tablets — selling on the market as of August 2011 copied its technology.
Judge Koh in a December hearing will consider Apple’s request for a permanent ban on U.S. sales of eight Samsung smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet as well as Samsung’s bid to get the existing verdict thrown out over juror misconduct.