Apple Seeks Sanctions Against Samsung for Unlawful Use of Apple-Nokia Patent License Terms
Apple has filed a new motion for sanctions against Samsung in a California court, accusing the Korean electronics manufacturer of unlawfully obtaining sensitive information about the terms and conditions of its 2011 patent license agreement with Nokia, reports FOSS Patents.
The motion states that Dr. Seungho Ahn, a Samsung executive, informed Nokia that the terms of the Apple-Nokia patent settlement were “known to him”, and used that information to negotiate other potential patent settlements in Samsung’s favor. According to the complaint, the Apple-Nokia license terms were turned over to Samsung's outside lawyers during the Apple v. Samsung case and were marked "Highly Confidential -- Attorneys' Eyes Only", but were improperly shared with Ahn and dozens of other Samsung employees.
Licensing executives from Samsung and Nokia held a meeting on June 4, 2013 to discuss a patent license deal between these parties. In that meeting, a Samsung exec, Dr. Seungho Ahn, "informed Nokia that the terms of the Apple-Nokia license were known to him" and according to a declaration from Nokia's Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Paul Melin, "stated that Apple had produced the Apple-Nokia license in its litigation with Samsung, and that Samsung's outside counsel had provided his team with the terms of the Apple-Nokia license". The Melin declaration furthermore says that "to prove to Nokia that he knew the confidential terms of the Apple-Nokia license, Dr. Ahn recited the terms of the license, and even went so far as to tell Nokia that 'all information leaks.'"
The motion itself details how files containing the sensitive information were transferred between Samsung’s outside counsel and Samsung executives, with the unredacted documents having been posted on an FTP server accessible to Samsung employees and then transmitted via email.
“Samsung’s outside counsel posted the report on an FTP site that was accessible by Samsung personnel. An email providing instructions to access the FTP site was addressed the regular client distribution list used by counsel to provide Samsung personnel updates regarding the case.
The information was then sent, over several different occasions, to over fifty Samsung employees, including high-ranking licensing executives. Specifically, on at least four occasions between March 24, 2012 and December 21, 2012, Samsung's outside counsel emailed a copy of some version of the report to Samsung employees, as well as various counsel representing Samsung in courts and jurisdictions outside the United States.
Since 2011, Samsung and Apple have been in a long, ongoing legal battle over patent and design issues, with the first U.S. trial awarding $1 billion to Apple in 2012. However, a judge voided nearly half of that amount in March, and a new trial between the two companies is set for November of this year.