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Apple ordered to disclose HTC settlement details in Samsung case

November 23, 2012

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

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose said in an order Wednesday 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 allegations of juror misconduct.

Samsung had argued that the terms of the licensing agreement are "highly relevant" to Apple's request for an order blocking U.S. sales of Samsung smartphones. Before Wednesday, 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 Wednesday 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 Wednesday seeking comment on the ruling.

Samsung also asked Grewal in a filing Wednesday in another case to let it add the iPod Touch 5, three earlier generations of the iPad Touch, the iPad 4 and the iPad Mini to its infringement claims against Apple.

Grewal ruled last week that Samsung can add the iPhone 5 to its patent-infringement claims against Apple, and Apple can add infringement claims against the Samsung Galaxy Note, the U.S. version of the Galaxy S III and the Jelly Bean operating system.

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