Samsung gains access to details of Apple-HTC deal

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Samsung gains access to details of Apple-HTC deal

Apple was ordered by a federal judge in its patent lawsuit against Samsung Electronics to disclose licensing terms of a settlement with HTC.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose, California, said in an order Wednesday (Pacific Time) that financial terms of licensing agreements for other third parties have been disclosed in the patent-infringement case between Apple and Samsung. He ordered Apple to produce a copy of the agreement under an “attorneys-eyes-only” designation, meaning it won’t be publicly available.

“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 August, Apple won a $1.05 billion patent-infringement verdict in a jury trial against Samsung in San Jose. U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh scheduled a Dec. 6 hearing for Apple’s bid for a permanent U.S. sales ban on eight Samsung smartphone models and the Tab 10.1 tablet computer. She will also consider Samsung’s bid to get the verdict thrown out based on claims of juror misconduct.

Samsung had argued the terms of the licensing agreement are “highly relevant” to Apple’s request for an order blocking U.S. sales of Samsung smartphones. Before yesterday, lawyers for Apple said HTC was willing to provide a copy of the accord with the financial terms redacted.

Daryl Crone, a lawyer for Samsung, told Grewal by phone in court Wedneday that if HTC agreed to pay Apple a small sum for licenses of patents at issue in the San Jose case, that could be used to undermine Apple’s argument that it has suffered “irreparable harm,” a standard required to win an injunction barring sales of Samsung’s products.

Apple, which had accused HTC of copying features that made its iPhone unique, on Nov. 10 settled all global lawsuits with HTC and agreed to a 10-year licensing deal.

Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return an e-mail yesterday seeking comment on the ruling.

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