FOSS Patents discovered that while Apple was asking a court to sanction Samsung for using confidential information about a patent deal between the Cupertino company and Nokia, Apple inadvertently made the very same information public.
As part of a patent dispute between Apple and Samsung, Apple was required to share the terms of the patent licensing deal with Samsung’s lawyers, Quinn Emanuel. The agreement was that the documents – marked Highly Confidential – Attorneys’ Eyes Only - would only be viewed by the lawyers. Instead, Quinn Emanuel passed them onto Samsung execs, who allegedly used the information as ammunition in the company’s own patent negotiations with Apple …
Apple argued that this was a highly serious breach of confidentiality, and asked for penalties to be imposed on Samsung. (The court decided instead to impose sanctions on Quinn Emanuel.) But it turns out that Apple made public the very information it was trying to protect.
Here’s the latest, absolutely stunning development: Apple actually filed the terms of its Nokia license (as well as the terms of a license agreement with NEC) on a publicly-accessible court docket last October, where it remained for about four months until it was finally removed.
Samsung is demanding full details of how this happened, accusing Apple of having revealed other confidential information – some of it about Samsung’s operations – and says that it may seek sanctions against the company. A hearing has been scheduled for 8th April.
There seem only two certainties about patent disputes: they are never-ending, and the only people to feel happy about them are the lawyers.