Samsung not sanctioned over leakage of Apple documents

The judge said the information had not been misused in license negotiations

A court in California has decided not to sanction Samsung Electronics for the leak of confidential Apple licensing information, stating that the information had not been misused in patent negotiations.

The court has, however, asked the external counsel to reimburse costs and fees incurred by Apple and Nokia on litigating the motion and related discovery.

Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled Wednesday that Samsung could not have benefited from the leaked information for its license negotiations with Nokia or Ericsson, pointing out that Samsung had argued that it already knew the terms of the agreement ahead of the leak.

The court said in November that it was considering sanctions against Samsung and its lawyers in view of allegations of the suspected breach of confidential information, including information on Apple's patent licensing agreements with Nokia, Ericsson, Sharp and Philips, which were marked for viewing by the attorneys alone.

Key terms of the four patent license agreements were contained in a draft expert report on damages that was forwarded to Samsung without redaction by its external counsel Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

The counsel posted the expert report on an FTP (file transfer protocol) site that was accessible by Samsung staff, and emailed instructions for accessing the site, which over 50 Samsung employees including licensing executives are said to have accessed.

Apple had provided the information to Quinn Emanuel during the discovery phase of a lawsuit in California in which Apple was awarded damages of US$1.05 billion against Samsung, later whittled down to about $930 million.

Samsung explained that Ericsson told it the terms of its license with Apple in the course of their mediations. "Given that no representative from Ericsson or anyone else has come forward to refute that assertion, the court credits the testimony and accepts this explanation," Judge Grewal wrote in his order. He said he was also not persuaded, despite Samsung's "tenuous" explanations, that the South Korean company had used the confidential information in the expert report.

With regard to Quinn Emanuel, the court found that the reimbursement of costs, in addition to the public findings of wrongdoing was sufficient "both to remedy Apple and Nokia's harm and to discourage similar conduct in the future." Quinn Emanuel will also be responsible for ensuring that all copies of the expert report "containing confidential information are deleted, erased, wiped, or otherwise permanently removed from Samsung's control within fourteen days of this order."

"It is undisputed that at some point in late March 2012, a junior associate working late one night failed to fully redact Apple's confidential license terms from an expert report," Grewal said about Quinn Emanuel's role. "One inadvertent mistake resulted in the widespread distribution of confidential information to hundreds of people who were not authorized to have access to it."

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Appleintellectual propertySamsung Electronicslegalpatent

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?