Apple mistakenly aired Nokia licensing terms while sanctioning Samsung for doing the same

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2014
In a court filing late Tuesday, Samsung revealed that Apple publicly disclosed details of its patent licensing terms with Nokia, as well as NEC, on the PACER electronic court records system, while at the same time seeking damages from the Korean tech giant for leaking that very information.

Ahn


Apple in October brought motion against Samsung as part of the original Apple v. Samsung California patent trial when it came to light that the Korean company's counsel inadvertently disseminated sensitive patent licensing information to Samsung executives. Apple and Nokia contend the information was used by Samsung to get a leg up on competitors, though the allegations were not adequately proven.

Now, according to a Samsung motion to compel spotted by FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, it appears Apple itself had published documents on Oct. 10, 2013, containing those exact terms to the Internet, leaving them there for four months before they were redacted.
Apple's and Nokia's scorched-earth approach to Samsung's inadvertent disclosure, and the amount of the concomitant fees Apple and Nokia incurred in pursuing those efforts, must be juxtaposed against the fact that Apple had simultaneously posted (and Nokia neglected to notice) this information on the Internet for all the world to see. The fee award should be reduced accordingly.
In January, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled it would not sanction Samsung for the alleged leak as Apple and Nokia failed to prove the information was leveraged unfairly in subsequent patent licensing negotiations. instead placed blame on the company's counsel Quinn Emmanuel.

Apple and Nokia apparently attempted to seal all mention of the October misfiling, which Samsung claims was a move meant to hide the error from the public. Nokia supposedly argued the filings should remain sealed indefinitely because individuals who already downloaded the docket without realizing its contents would be alerted to its sensitive nature.

With the motion to compel, Quinn Emmanuel's endgame is to reduce fees associated with the court's sanctions over the alleged leak. Further, Samsung may turn the tables by sanctioning Apple, depending on what new information comes to light. The motion claims Apple inadvertently filed, on two separate subsequent occasions, additional documents containing licensing terms with Samsung and Google.

The court has scheduled a hearing for Apr. 8 to discuss the matter.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,509member
    Oops!
  • Reply 2 of 36
    cletuscletus Posts: 54member
    In the famous words of Emily Litella; "Never mind!"
  • Reply 3 of 36
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,614member

    Oh dear.  I'm not sure if there's a legal argument on "pot calling the kettle black" lines, but I can't imagine this will help Apple out.

  • Reply 4 of 36
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member

    So Apple should also be fined and have to pay themselves for leaking the information as well. 

     

    Maybe this is entirely different but it almost sounds like saying you didn't break into the house because the door was left unlocked. 

  • Reply 5 of 36
    bilbo63bilbo63 Posts: 285member
    We'll see how this plays out when all of the details are revealed -- it may or may not turn out to be the same thing. Apple should be treated the same as any other company if found guilty of wrong-doing. Period.
  • Reply 6 of 36
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,821member
    Unless Samsung is claiming that the inadvertent public posting on the internet was their source (and hence, could not have been a leak of a confidential document), I don't see where they're going with this or how it matters.

    Apples and samsungs, as far as I can see.
  • Reply 7 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,713member
    bilbo63 wrote: »
    We'll see how this plays out when all of the details are revealed -- it may or may not turn out to be the same thing. Apple should be treated the same as any other company if found guilty of wrong-doing. Period.

    Unless Nokia is complaining, and I don't see where they have, Apple won't be found to do anything wrong. Their attorneys were just ridiculously careless, even more so than Quinn Emanuel in representing Samsung. Apple put the entire contract out for public viewing. There's almost certainly some folks who downloaded the document via Pacer but till now didn't realize the significance of it. Florian is kicking himself that he didn't notice it until Samsung brought it up. I'd suspect the royalty terms and cross-licensing details will make it out to the public at some point.

    I don't see how Apple is going to continue to legitimately claim damages (in an ITC case as well) and demand heavy sanctions from a QE mistake when Apple did it to themselves, and out in public. They also tried to seal the record of their error so no one would notice. QE shouldn't get off scott-free, but heavy monetary sanctions may now be off the table.

    Back in October when FOSSPatents heard the news of Quinn-Emanuel's leak Florian had this to say:
    "The order came down after a hearing held yesterday on a request by Apple (and possibly also one by Nokia) for sanctions against Samsung (and/or its outside counsel) for violation of a protective order, i.e., for illegal disclosure of (in this case, extremely) confidential business information.
    I must say that I'm shocked."
    .

    Florian's reaction today when he learned of Apple doing the same thing? "I'm almost speechless".

    EDIT: Apple also publicly revealed the contracts terms of their NEC agreement that was supposed to be confidential.

    EDIT2: Just like Apple did now Samsung will play this for everything they can get out of it. They've requested the court to order Apple to provide an explanation about how they could have made such an error , only fair to expect "transparency and evenhandedness." On April 8th the court will entertain Samsung's new motions. Worse, it's being reported that the possibility of sanctions against Apple and/or their attorneys aren't off the table since those docs marked for "Attorney Eyes Only". Also the court filing that AI linked at the end of their article is worth a read IMO. It looks as tho there was another previously undisclosed Apple leak in November last year?

    So the first sentence of my post may be way off-base. Crazy stuff.
  • Reply 8 of 36
    I'm pretty sure there is a legal difference between "I shot myself in the foot" and "You shot me in the foot."
  • Reply 9 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,713member
    I'm pretty sure there is a legal difference between "I shot myself in the foot" and "You shot me in the foot."

    In this particular case there may not be that big a difference as far as the court is concerned. Neither one of them had permission to brandish the gun.
  • Reply 10 of 36
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,807member
    For Apple to publicize their own confidential documents online is their own business. But for Samsung to post Apple's confidential information, that's wrong.
  • Reply 11 of 36
    dnd0psdnd0ps Posts: 253member
    If this is true, someone's gonna get fired
  • Reply 12 of 36
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

    Maybe this is entirely different but it almost sounds like saying you didn't break into the house because the door was left unlocked. 


     

    That’s what worries me about this nonsense, Mr. Gates.

  • Reply 13 of 36
    sudonymsudonym Posts: 233member

    I don't see how Apple did anything wrong.  But Samsung should be punished.

  • Reply 14 of 36
    island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member

    If Samsung is claiming that its disclosure of Apple's licence was an accident and Apple turns around and says that its disclosure of the Nokia and NEC licences was done by accident...

     

    ... well, Samsung could possibly be off the hook. Accidents happen.

     

    Either that or Apple can incriminate itself even further... and both Samsung and Apple will be facing the same charge.

  • Reply 15 of 36
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,173member
    Sanction is incorrect, they called for sanctions, they didn't get to sanction.

    Also, and this is exciting, sanction is one of those English words which means it's opposite depending on context. To allow or disallow. Dust is another.
  • Reply 16 of 36
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

    Neither one of them had permission to brandish the gun.

     

    Uh, it’s Apple’s gun. Pretty sure they had the right.

  • Reply 17 of 36
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,371member

    Okay, not going to make excuses for Apple it sounds like someone screw up by posting those documents and we all can speculated what happen and why.

     

    However, that fact most likely will have no baring on what Samsung Law firm did. Most all those documents where labeled with something to the effect that said for Lawyers eyes only, meaning no matter what apple did with those documents themselves, it did not relieve the law firm from their legal responsibility. They are still responsible for handing over documents which they should not have. The only question is how much the court will sanction them. probably a lot less now.

  • Reply 18 of 36
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Two accidental leaks: maybe the same?

    The way Samsung used the info: not the same.
  • Reply 19 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,713member
    Uh, it’s Apple’s gun. Pretty sure they had the right.

    Originally I was thinking along the same lines but after some reading I'm pretty sure they did not.

    Apple and Nokia, and presumably the other companies whose licensing docs were submitted as evidence, asked that the documents be kept confidential. Samsung agreed that it would be the proper action. It was the court that made the order, and it applied to all parties in the action. Neither Apple nor Samsung had permission to violate the court order no matter where the documents may have originated. If you stopped to consider that more than Apple and Samsung interests are being protected it makes sense.
  • Reply 20 of 36
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

    Apple and Nokia, and presumably the other companies whose licensing docs were submitted as evidence, asked that the documents be kept confidential.

     

    So since Apple asked for them to be confidential, the fact that they weren’t sounds a lot like not Apple’s problem. 

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