Apple ordered to reveal HTC deal details

California judge orders Apple to disclose details of its patent dispute deal with HTC to Samsung

Magistrate Judge Paul Singh Grewal, a California judge, has ordered Apple Inc. to disclose the details of its patent dispute settlement with rival HTC to Samsung Electronics, its arch-rival in the smartphones domain.

Cupertino-based Apple and Taipei-headquartered HTC had announced earlier this month that they had reached a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a 10-year licence agreement.

However, neither company disclosed any monetary details of the deal.

Now, following an impromptu hearing ordered by Magistrate Judge Singh Grewal yesterday at the San Jose Courthouse, California, Samsung’s lawyers have been given the go-ahead by the judge to view confidential details of the agreement.

US Magistrate Judge Paul Singh Grewal, a former President of the South Asian Bar of Northern California and the North American South Asian Bar Association, reviewed Samsung lawyers’ arguments that details of the settlement are relevant to Apple’s request for an order blocking sales of Samsung smartphones.

According to media sources, Apple has shown its willingness to request HTC to provide a redacted copy (read: censored in order to obscure sensitive details) of the accord with the financial terms edited out, whereas Samsung insists that it should be privy to the financial details which, it claims, are “highly relevant” to the Apple Vs.

Samsung case which the judge is presiding over.

According to a Bloomberg report, Samsung lawyer Daryl Crone told Grewal by phone in court yesterday that “[t]he un-redacted version should be produced because the financial terms” of the agreement are relevant to Apple’s request for an injunction against Samsung devices.

Financial details of the Apple-HTC patent resolution deal have been kept under a tight wrap by both the parties. “The licence extends to current and future patents held by both parties. The terms of the settlement are confidential,” the joint statement issued by Apple and HTC on November 10 said.

Samsung, however, wants to know the terms as it believes the amount of money changing hands could be huge. “If the amount of the license were relatively small” for the patents at issue in the San Jose case, it might demonstrate that “those particular features are insignificant to driving consumer demand.”

Apple had, in August this year, won a major legal victory against Samsung when a US judge had ordered the South Korean company to pay it $1.05 billion in damages as the jury found that some of Samsung’s devices violated Apple’s software and design patents.

According to a Reuters report, the court on Wednesday ordered Apple to produce a full copy of the settlement agreement “without delay”, subject to an Attorneys-Eyes-Only designation.

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