Court Orders Apple to Disclose Licensing Deal with HTC

Apple Headquarter at Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California

Apple Headquarter at Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California | Wikipedia

Last Wednesday, a federal judge ordered that Apple must show the details of its licensing agreement with HTC to Samsung. Both Apple and HTC recently put an end to their ongoing patent litigations by reaching a ten-year licensing deal.

Apple: To Reveal its Licensing Details with HTC to Samsung

During last Wednesday’s hearing, Samsung argued that they require the complete and unredacted version of the Apple-HTC licensing agreement. That’s because the company believes that the included licensing terms were needed to effectively oppose Apple’s bid for a number of permanent injunctions.

When it comes to the agreement’s financials, the South Korean tech giant said that the information would come in handy in supporting their argument that a royalty settlement is “more suitable alternative” than a permanent sales ban.

In relation to this, Apple vs. Samsung Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal handed down the order, which grants Samsung’s motion to compel Apple to reveal their ten-year licensing deal with HTC. However, it will be subject to an attorney’s-eyes-only designation, which it means that details will not be available for public consumption. As stated on the order:

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.

On the other hand, HTC filed a response, declaring that their company would be harmed if the settlement details will be divulged. However, Judge Grewal said that the court is “not persuaded” by the Taiwan-based company’s assertions.

He went to say that although the court is skeptical with Samsung’s motion to compel, they are covered under Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule describes the “duty to disclose; general provisions governing discovery.”

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 the confidential financial terms were clearly relevant to the dispute between Apple and Samsung.

The Apple-HTC Licensing Deal

Prior to this, Apple and HTC reached a ten-year licensing agreement, which dismisses all of their ongoing patent disputes. The settlement also covers current and future patent that are held by both companies.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the Apple vs. Samsung post-trial will continue when both parties meet at a hearing set for December 6. During the hearing, the companies will discuss their respective motion that includes an Apple-sought ban of eight Samsung products. Also included in the motion is Samsung’s bid to have the whole trial dismissed due to an alleged jury misconduct.

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