HTC’s New Apple Licenses Can’t Remain Secret

     SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – The federal magistrate overseeing discovery in the Apple-Samsung slugfest ordered Apple to disclose terms of its recent settlement with HTC.
     Apple announced that it had settled patent infringement claims with HTC on Nov. 11. Though tight-lipped about most of the details of the settlement, the two companies acknowledged they had signed a broad 10-year licensing agreement.
     The deal sparked the interest of Samsung, which is still reeling from an August verdict that found its Galaxy phones and tablets relied on copied iPhone and iPad technology.
     As it fights Apple’s call for a permanent injunction , Samsung notes that HTC settlement licenses technology that Apple had claimed during the trial it would never license.
     Samsung also believes the Apple-HTC settlement “undermines Apple’s assertion that an injunction is a more appropriate remedy than money damages.”
     After an emergency teleconference on Thanksgiving eve, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal ordered Apple to disclose the agreement.
     HTC, a much smaller technology company, had vehemently fought this outcome.
     “HTC’s only response is that the potential probative value of the terms is outweighed by the risk to HTC from disclosure of the terms,” Grewal wrote in his order, filed hours after the hearing. “The court is not persuaded by HTC’s argument. Although the court is more than a little skeptical of Samsung’s arguments regarding the financial terms, Rule 26 supplies a broad standard of relevance. 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. 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 also acceded to requests from both sides, and ordered the companies make more experts available for deposition in advance of Dec. 6.
     At the marathon hearing schedule for that date, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh will hear Apple’s arguments for the injunction and its willfulness motions against Samsung, as well as both parties’ Rule 50 motions.
     A second battle between the two companies – this time involving Samsung’s claims that Apple copies its Galaxy line to produce the iPod Touch, iPhones and iPads – begins March 31, 2014.

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