Samsung looks to HTC agreement to undermine Apple's litigation tactics

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
In a court filing on Friday, Samsung entered a proposed motion to compel Apple to reveal the undisclosed particulars of its recent ten-year licensing deal with HTC, a move that could sway the court's decision in handing down a sales ban against Samsung's products.

The filing, which is part of the post-trial proceedings of the Apple v. Samsung patent trial, seeks to force Apple to reveal whether a recently announced agreement with HTC covered all of the company's patents, a revelation that could change how existing and future lawsuits regarding IP are handled.

As noted by Reuters, if Apple did include its entire patent portfolio, including so-called "user experience" properties that have supposedly never been licensed, the HTC deal could weaken its bid for an injunction against Samsung's products. Courts tend to resolve patent disputes through licensing deals rather than injunctions, with plaintiffs needing to prove irreparable harm that can only be solved with a sales ban. The HTC deal may reveal that Apple is open to accepting monetary compensation for its patents, making it more difficult to prove that an injunction against Samsung's products is the only solution.

Samsung Motion to Compel
Excerpt from Samsung's motion to compel. | Source: U.S. Courts


Although the Apple and HTC agreement remains confidential, patent litigation experts believe it unlikely that the Taiwanese company would settle for anything less than the entire patent portfolio.

Apple has been at odds with HTC since it alleged infringement of certain iPhone patents in 2010. Apple announced that it struck a deal with the Taiwanese handset maker on its website over the weekend, effectively ending the two-year dispute.

AppleInsider reported on Monday that the HTC deal may serve as a blueprint for Apple's case against Samsung, as well other ongoing lawsuits, a tactic that may be at the behest of CEO Tim Cook. Late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs vowed to "destroy" Google's Android, an operating system he felt was a stolen product based on iOS, saying he would "go thermonuclear war on this." Counter to Jobs' vehement opposition of settling patent disagreements, Cook appears to be more willing to do so. During the company's quarterly conference call for the second quarter of 2012, Cook said that he would "highly prefer" to settle Apple's worldwide litigation than do battle in the courtroom, but noted that rivals need to "invent their own stuff."

Friday's motion also included email correspondence between Apple and Samsung counsel, showing that Apple is still deciding whether to reveal the HTC license details willingly. "Apple continues to consider Samsung?s request for the HTC agreement, but notes that it will need to seek HTC?s consent to produce the agreement," wrote Apple lawyer Richard Hung.

According to the proposed motion to compel, Apple will need to file its opposition to Samsung's request by November 20, 2012.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    I wish AI would have a different blog for legal matters apart from the main one with the tech rumors and discussions.
  • Reply 2 of 43
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    How about a separate section for anything related to Samsung. Good god I'm so sick of hearing about Samsung.
  • Reply 3 of 43

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    How about a separate section for anything related to Samsung. Good god I'm so sick of hearing about Samsung.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    I wish AI would have a different blog for legal matters apart from the main one with the tech rumors and discussions.


     


    Why not just ignore the articles with headings mentioning Samsung or lawsuits?


     


    Just saying ...

  • Reply 4 of 43
    With Samsung being on record "we won't negotiate a license", what relevance would a license agreement with another company be?
  • Reply 5 of 43
    I doubt Apple "sold the farm" in their deal with HTC so I don't think Samsung is going to get anything useful from seeing the agreement
  • Reply 6 of 43
    Wow. Whatever your views on the protagonists (and mine are well known to forum regulars), you've got to give their lawyers credit for their tenacity.
  • Reply 7 of 43
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,577member


    5 days ago this is exactly what I said would happen, tho I must admit it happened faster that I thought it would.


     


    But the details will be made available to some court at some injunction hearing, offered as proof that Apple can be made whole with money rather than a sales ban on some competitors product. It will also probably be redacted so that the public1wink.gif doesn't know the licensing details."


    http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/154218/apple-and-htc-settle-all-patent-litigation-agree-to-10-year-licensing-deal#post_2230773

  • Reply 8 of 43


    I smell a clever trap laid by Apple for Samsung.  In fact, I think that immediately after the HTC settlement was announced, Apple lawyers were fervently hoping that Samsung would make exactly this type of request.


     


    Here is what I think Apple's strategy is: 


     


    1) Strike a settlement deal with HTC


    2) Construct the terms of the settlement in a way that would work OK for HTC but would be harmful to Samsung


    3) Seal the settlement and hope that the secrecy of the settlement would entice Samsung to request the court to unseal it.


    4) The court accepts Samsung's request and compels Apple to unseal the settlement terms.


    5) After the settlement terms are revealed, the Samsung lawyers faint at the implications of the terms for Samsung.


    6) The judge orders Apple to give the exact or similar terms to Samsung in lieu of an injunction and orders Samsung to comply with said terms.


    7) Apple wins!


     


    The above strategy sounds plausible precisely because Apple reached the settlement with HTC a month BEFORE the Dec. 6th hearing, thus giving the Samsung lawyers time to file the motion to compel which is precisely what Apple wanted.


     


    Otherwise, if the terms would be actually beneficial to Samsung, Apple would have delayed the settlement until well after the Dec. 6th hearing!!  The timing of the settlement was fully in Apple's control. 

  • Reply 9 of 43
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,577member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kharvel View Post


    I smell a clever trap laid by Apple for Samsung.  In fact, I think that immediately after the HTC settlement was announced, Apple lawyers were fervently hoping that Samsung would make exactly this type of request.


     


    Here is what I think Apple's strategy is: 


     


    1) Strike a settlement deal with HTC


    2) Construct the terms of the settlement in a way that would work OK for HTC but would be harmful to Samsung


    3) Seal the settlement and hope that the secrecy of the settlement would entice Samsung to request the court to unseal it.


    4) The court accepts Samsung's request and compels Apple to unseal the settlement terms.


    5) After the settlement terms are revealed, the Samsung lawyers faint at the implications of the terms for Samsung.


    6) The judge orders Apple to give the exact or similar terms to Samsung in lieu of an injunction and orders Samsung to comply with said terms.


    7) Apple wins!


     


    The above strategy sounds plausible precisely because Apple reached the settlement with HTC a month BEFORE the Dec. 6th hearing, thus giving the Samsung lawyers time to file the motion to compel which is precisely what Apple wanted.


     


    Otherwise, if the terms would be actually beneficial to Samsung, Apple would have delayed the settlement until well after the Dec. 6th hearing!!  The timing of the settlement was fully in Apple's control. 



    It's definitely possible that Samsung already knows the licensing terms. Quinn Emanual, one of the the law firms representing Samsung in this case also previously represented guess who: HTC. Instead of making a blind request Samsung may already know the general terms of the cross-licensing agreement they're asking be revealed to Judge Koh.

  • Reply 10 of 43

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    It's definitely possible that Samsung already knows the licensing terms. Quinn Emanual, one of the the law firms representing Samsung in this case also previously represented guess who: HTC. Samsung may already know the general terms of the cross-licensing agreement they're requesting be revealed to Judge Koh.



     


    How/why would they know?  If the terms were confidential, Mr. Emmanuel would not be able to use that knowledge even if he somehow had possession of it. 

  • Reply 11 of 43
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,577member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kharvel View Post


     


    How/why would they know?  If the terms were confidential, Mr. Emmanuel would not be able to use that knowledge even if he somehow had possession of it. 



    They're not telling the court what the agreement says, revealing anything confidential (if they know). They're asking the court to order it be revealed in discovery....


     


    and perhaps feeling pretty secure there's nothing it in as a Samsung "gotcha". 

  • Reply 12 of 43
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    5 days ago this is exactly what I said would happen, tho I must admit it happened faster that I thought it would.


     


    But the details will be made available to some court at some injunction hearing, offered as proof that Apple can be made whole with money rather than a sales ban on some competitors product. It will also probably be redacted so that the public1wink.gif doesn't know the licensing details."


    http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/154218/apple-and-htc-settle-all-patent-litigation-agree-to-10-year-licensing-deal#post_2230773





    It may be a better strategy than risking potential invalidation of more patents. There's always the risk. In the case of a settlement, they won't be tested further in court. It would produce a likely net gain as opposed to uncertainty.

  • Reply 13 of 43

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    It's definitely possible that Samsung already knows the licensing terms. Quinn Emanual, one of the the law firms representing Samsung in this case also previously represented guess who: HTC. Instead of making a blind request Samsung may already know the general terms of the cross-licensing agreement they're asking be revealed to Judge Koh.



    If the law firm did something as egregious as that, they'd be out of business in no time. A firm of its reputation would not be remotely silly enough to risk something like that.

  • Reply 14 of 43
    froodfrood Posts: 771member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kharvel View Post


    I smell a clever trap laid by Apple for Samsung.  In fact, I think that immediately after the HTC settlement was announced, Apple lawyers were fervently hoping that Samsung would make exactly this type of request.


     


    Here is what I think Apple's strategy is: 


     


    1) Strike a settlement deal with HTC


    2) Construct the terms of the settlement in a way that would work OK for HTC but would be harmful to Samsung


    3) Seal the settlement and hope that the secrecy of the settlement would entice Samsung to request the court to unseal it.


    4) The court accepts Samsung's request and compels Apple to unseal the settlement terms.


    5) After the settlement terms are revealed, the Samsung lawyers faint at the implications of the terms for Samsung.


    6) The judge orders Apple to give the exact or similar terms to Samsung in lieu of an injunction and orders Samsung to comply with said terms.


    7) Apple wins!


     


    The above strategy sounds plausible precisely because Apple reached the settlement with HTC a month BEFORE the Dec. 6th hearing, thus giving the Samsung lawyers time to file the motion to compel which is precisely what Apple wanted.


     


    Otherwise, if the terms would be actually beneficial to Samsung, Apple would have delayed the settlement until well after the Dec. 6th hearing!!  The timing of the settlement was fully in Apple's control. 



     


    Always interesting to follow how these court battles are going.  The above could be Apple taking a page out of Microsofts patent strategy of going after the small fish first and browbeating them into terms and then using those 'victories' as precedents against the real targets.


     


    HTC doesn't have the resources to fight Apple and knows it, so it makes a lot of sense for them to cave.  Apple gets the 'win' and will likely go for something along the lines of 'HTC agreed to pay us $250mil a year.  Samsung sells 6x the devices HTC does.  They should pay us $1.5bil a year.'  On the flip side, theres a huge leap and legal wrangling in coming to the conclusion that Samsungs devices infringe similarly to HTC's and none of the patents have been legaly challenged- which of course Samsung does have the resources for and will do.


     


    From Samsungs side its pretty clear.  A large part of their appeal of the $1 bil verdict (plus Apple now suing for more) is that Apple has grossly overstated their damages and impact of infringement.  I think Apple claimed a basis of something like $32 per device?  Those infringements are pretty cut and dried and the exact same patents are covered in the HTC deal.  Samsung has a pretty solid argument in saying that Apple has determined the market value of not only those patents- but a whole bunch of others as well including some of the ones Apple claimed were 'untouchable'- is worth $8 per phone.  They will claim the real market value of the affected patents- as determined by Apple itself- is probably closer to $4 per phone (and not all devices infringed all the same patents)  Samsung gets the $1 billion verdict reduced to a paltry $125 mil (and even so continues the other plethora of appeals contesting why the jury glossed over the question of whether the patents were even valid, the foreman was biased etc, etc) and more importantly gets the publicity to call Apple out on just generally being deliberate value over-inflating patent trolls abusing the court system.


     


    There's potential meat on the bones for either side.  Should be good entertainment either way =)

  • Reply 15 of 43
    frood wrote: »
    Always interesting to follow how these court battles are going.  The above could be Apple taking a page out of Microsofts patent strategy of going after the small fish first and browbeating them into terms and then using those 'victories' as precedents against the real targets.

    HTC doesn't have the resources to fight Apple and knows it, so it makes a lot of sense for them to cave.  Apple gets the 'win' and will likely go for something along the lines of 'HTC agreed to pay us $250mil a year.  Samsung sells 6x the devices HTC does.  They should pay us $1.5bil a year.'  On the flip side, theres a huge leap and legal wrangling in coming to the conclusion that Samsungs devices infringe similarly to HTC's and none of the patents have been legaly challenged- which of course Samsung does have the resources for and will do.

    From Samsungs side its pretty clear.  A large part of their appeal of the $1 bil verdict (plus Apple now suing for more) is that Apple has grossly overstated their damages and impact of infringement.  I think Apple claimed a basis of something like $32 per device?  Those infringements are pretty cut and dried and the exact same patents are covered in the HTC deal.  Samsung has a pretty solid argument in saying that Apple has determined the market value of not only those patents- but a whole bunch of others as well including some of the ones Apple claimed were 'untouchable'- is worth $8 per phone.  They will claim the real market value of the affected patents- as determined by Apple itself- is probably closer to $4 per phone (and not all devices infringed all the same patents)  Samsung gets the $1 billion verdict reduced to a paltry $125 mil (and even so continues the other plethora of appeals contesting why the jury glossed over the question of whether the patents were even valid, the foreman was biased etc, etc) and more importantly gets the publicity to call Apple out on just generally being deliberate value over-inflating patent trolls abusing the court system.

    There's potential meat on the bones for either side.  Should be good entertainment either way =)

    I like your middle of the road take, bc it can definitely come down either way.

    Couple of things to note:

    All Apple vs HTC vs Apple federal court cases were either stayed or in limbo.

    Apple won some ITC (different rules than federal courts) against HTC in 2011. Both had other pending ITC cases against each other but the withdrew and settled.

    Samsung decided not to take a admittedly pricey license to Apple IP, and dragged the situation through lengthy federal court (2 years) and caused public awareness.

    Apple excels at marketing and business strategy, Samsung is reactive, for this reason I wonder if Apple intentionally set a trap?

    I think Jobs thermonuclear quote was more aimed at Samsung than Android, although he disliked both. It's like Dell and Asus, where Asus was a supplier that became a competitor.

    The whole Apple vs Samsung UK court debacle was clearly purposeful but journalists are to stupid to know that they got PLAYED.. Apple wanted to get the the story rewritten many times, regardless of bad press. Apple want everyone to know that Samsung obviously copied Apple since the iPad came out to market first and Apple was playing to the general UK publics "Asian copying" syndrome.

    The point is that everyone knows that Samsung copies Sony, Apple, etc.... Only a diehard Android fan can deny that.

    Is it legal, and how much is it legal is another question..
  • Reply 16 of 43
    frood wrote: »
    Always interesting to follow how these court battles are going.  The above could be Apple taking a page out of Microsofts patent strategy of going after the small fish first and browbeating them into terms and then using those 'victories' as precedents against the real targets.

    HTC doesn't have the resources to fight Apple and knows it, so it makes a lot of sense for them to cave.  Apple gets the 'win' and will likely go for something along the lines of 'HTC agreed to pay us $250mil a year.  Samsung sells 6x the devices HTC does.  They should pay us $1.5bil a year.'  On the flip side, theres a huge leap and legal wrangling in coming to the conclusion that Samsungs devices infringe similarly to HTC's and none of the patents have been legaly challenged- which of course Samsung does have the resources for and will do.

    From Samsungs side its pretty clear.  A large part of their appeal of the $1 bil verdict (plus Apple now suing for more) is that Apple has grossly overstated their damages and impact of infringement.  I think Apple claimed a basis of something like $32 per device?  Those infringements are pretty cut and dried and the exact same patents are covered in the HTC deal.  Samsung has a pretty solid argument in saying that Apple has determined the market value of not only those patents- but a whole bunch of others as well including some of the ones Apple claimed were 'untouchable'- is worth $8 per phone.  They will claim the real market value of the affected patents- as determined by Apple itself- is probably closer to $4 per phone (and not all devices infringed all the same patents)  Samsung gets the $1 billion verdict reduced to a paltry $125 mil (and even so continues the other plethora of appeals contesting why the jury glossed over the question of whether the patents were even valid, the foreman was biased etc, etc) and more importantly gets the publicity to call Apple out on just generally being deliberate value over-inflating patent trolls abusing the court system.

    There's potential meat on the bones for either side.  Should be good entertainment either way =)
    Bull.

    First off how can you make the ridiculous claim that "the exact same patents are covered in the HTC deal"? You don't know that and are making facts up to support an argument.

    Second, Samsung was offered a deal and didn't take it. Once you go to court and lose you can't go back and say "we changed our mind and would now like to make a deal." Where's the deterrent to copying if you can lose a lawsuit and then go back and get the same deal you were offered previously?

    Thirdly, Microsoft also made a deal. Where's Samsung's application to get the details of that license?

    Fourthly, there's a cross licensing deal in place with HTC. That means the rumored $6-8 per device HTC "might" be paying Apple can't be applied directly to Samsung unless Samsung has patents Apple needs. And since Samsung's patents are almost exclusively FRAND patents, they have to license them to Apple anyway.


    Lastly, fredaroony, why the alt account with the obvious name?
  • Reply 17 of 43
    alexnalexn Posts: 119member
    Wow. Whatever your views on the protagonists (and mine are well known to forum regulars), you've got to give their lawyers credit for their tenacity.

    Bravely and tenaciously swimming through all that lovely gravy...
  • Reply 18 of 43
    Ultimately, this is probably the best outcome for Apple. If HTC terms are reasonable, jury will probably hold against Samsung for not agreeing to similar terms. If HTC terms are unreasonable, Samsung doesn't gain anything from revealing those terms - probably again hurt them because of existing precedent that a competitor agrees to Apple's terms.

    The other aspect is that this shows Apple in good light as being ready to negotiate and settle. Before this, even hardcore Apple fans were finding it tough to justify Apple's litigation tactics.

    Most importantly, this makes a dent in Android armor. If one company settled, it raises questions about everyone.
  • Reply 19 of 43
    rayzrayz Posts: 814member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    5 days ago this is exactly what I said would happen, tho I must admit it happened faster that I thought it would.


     


    But the details will be made available to some court at some injunction hearing, offered as proof that Apple can be made whole with money rather than a sales ban on some competitors product. It will also probably be redacted so that the public1wink.gif doesn't know the licensing details."


    http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/154218/apple-and-htc-settle-all-patent-litigation-agree-to-10-year-licensing-deal#post_2230773



     


    Well, we already know from the Samsung/Apple that Apple is happy to negotiate licenses over seeking sales bans; Microsoft licensed technology from them to the Surface laptop/tablet.

  • Reply 20 of 43

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Frood View Post


     


    Always interesting to follow how these court battles are going.  The above could be Apple taking a page out of Microsofts patent strategy of going after the small fish first and browbeating them into terms and then using those 'victories' as precedents against the real targets.


     


    HTC doesn't have the resources to fight Apple and knows it, so it makes a lot of sense for them to cave.  Apple gets the 'win' and will likely go for something along the lines of 'HTC agreed to pay us $250mil a year.  Samsung sells 6x the devices HTC does.  They should pay us $1.5bil a year.'  On the flip side, theres a huge leap and legal wrangling in coming to the conclusion that Samsungs devices infringe similarly to HTC's and none of the patents have been legaly challenged- which of course Samsung does have the resources for and will do.


     


    From Samsungs side its pretty clear.  A large part of their appeal of the $1 bil verdict (plus Apple now suing for more) is that Apple has grossly overstated their damages and impact of infringement.  I think Apple claimed a basis of something like $32 per device?  Those infringements are pretty cut and dried and the exact same patents are covered in the HTC deal.  Samsung has a pretty solid argument in saying that Apple has determined the market value of not only those patents- but a whole bunch of others as well including some of the ones Apple claimed were 'untouchable'- is worth $8 per phone.  They will claim the real market value of the affected patents- as determined by Apple itself- is probably closer to $4 per phone (and not all devices infringed all the same patents)  Samsung gets the $1 billion verdict reduced to a paltry $125 mil (and even so continues the other plethora of appeals contesting why the jury glossed over the question of whether the patents were even valid, the foreman was biased etc, etc) and more importantly gets the publicity to call Apple out on just generally being deliberate value over-inflating patent trolls abusing the court system.


     


    There's potential meat on the bones for either side.  Should be good entertainment either way =)



     


    The problem with your entire commentary is that we have no idea and we don't know what the terms of the Apple/HTC deal are.


     


    Everyone is assuming that the settlement was of monetary nature (i.e. HTC paid off Apple in licensing fees).  Why make this assumption?


     


    What if the settlement said that HTC can no longer use Android in future HTC devices and HTC would pay a fee for the past infringement?  Remember, Windows 8 Mobile is out now and there is no reason for HTC to stick with Android if an alternative that is free of future Apple litigation is available from Microsoft.  


     


    As a matter of fact, based on Apple's statements from the past and based on Jobs's thermonuclear statement, I think the settlement is more of a "Stop using Android and pay us for past infringement" nature.  If that is indeed the case then Samsung is in for a huge amount of pain once the judge sees the settlement terms.  

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