Apple Released Confidential License Terms with Nokia While Sanctioning Samsung for Role in Leaks

Last October, Apple filed a motion seeking sanctions against Samsung and its outside lawyers, accusing both of unlawfully sharing sensitive data about Apple's 2011 patent license agreement with Nokia. Specifically, the motion stated that a Samsung executive informed Nokia that the terms of the patent settlement were "known to him", and used that information to negotiate other patent agreements in Samsung’s favor. The license terms between Apple and Nokia were marked "Highly Confidential - Attorneys' Eyes Only", but were shared with other Samsung employees.

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In January, Judge Paul S. Grewal ruled against imposing sanctions on Samsung, instead choosing to solely penalize the company's law firm, Quinn Emanuel. Now however, FOSS Patents is reporting that Apple released its confidential license terms with Nokia and the NEC while seeking sanctions against Samsung for its role in the leaks.

The license terms were viewable in a publicly accessible court proceedings document on the Internet for four months before they were removed, as Samsung has filed a new motion asking the court to reduce the penalties against its law firm:

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.

Samsung also added in its filing that Apple should now be required to provide information as to what happened based on "transparency and evenhandedness." A hearing on Samsung's new motion against Apple is scheduled to take place on April 8, as the company also states it may seek further sanctions against Apple after reviewing other information about the situation.

The new motion comes before a second patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung is set to begin on March 31, 2014. Samsung will only have four patents claims to bring to the upcoming trial, as Judge Koh invalidated two of its patent claims in January.

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Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
134 months ago
My god, when is someone going to start MacLegalRumors so I don't have to read all this legal crap here? Please just make it stop.
Yes please. Enough with the Apple/Samsung patent stories. Or at least throw them off to the sidebar.
Why not just read the title and decide to skip the article? ;)

As a great scholar once parodied:

I get so annoyed with articles that don't interest me personally! After paying no dollars per month, I expect specifically tailored, top notch content! I've tried to find ways to avoid clicking on them—hell, I've gone so far as to read the bloody titles to preemptively avoid things that don't interest me. But even with that sneaky trick, Arn still comes to my house and forces me to click, read, and comment on every story I don't care about! :mad:
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
134 months ago
Except one lawyer's goof-up directly violated a court order while the other's did not. Big difference there.
As part of the same case, they were both under court order to protect Confidential Business Information (CBI).

Interestingly, Apple's lawyers had not only likewise failed to protect the same info, but had also publicly uploaded Samsung, Google, Microsoft and Novell confidential information. So their mistakes were far broader reaching than Quinn's... and Samsung could sue Apple for divulging that info.

(And at least the junior Quinn associate had redacted most of the documents that he uploaded only to Samsung. What the Apple lawyer employee(s) posted was in the clear, and available to anyone.)

Anyway, now Quinn Emanuel thinks turnabout is fair play. If Apple's lawyers want Q-E to provide full details on how such mistakes happen, then they should have to do the same.

Or perhaps they should just both cool their jets. Judge Grewal called this entire affair a "circus" in his last ruling. It's fortunate for both sides that he considers such mistakes unavoidable in a big case.

.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maelstromr Avatar
134 months ago
Both law firms had assistants that accidentally goofed up, by not redacting enough information. However, as Judge Grewal put it, "every lawyer in this case has acknowledged that these types of mistakes happen," which is why he refused Apple's requests for more draconian sanctions.

No doubt Apple's lawyers are now rethinking what sanctions should be given for such junior employee mistakes, since they goofed up too.

As for exposure, we have no idea how many people downloaded those public documents and are now alerted to the information within. Certainly more than just one company, as was the case with the Quinn lapse.



The initial Apple-Nokia claims of it being a factor in negotiations was also knocked down by Judge Grewal, who said:

"... there has been insufficient evidence that this failure to notify or misuse ultimately implicated any issue in this or any other litigation or negotiation."

and

"In short, what began as a chorus of loud and certain accusations had died down to aggressive suppositions and inferences, and without anything more, Quinn Emanuel and Samsung cannot reasonably be subject to more punitive sanctions."

As the judge's ruling noted throughout, the whole affair was blown out of proportion by Apple and Nokia. This from a usually anti-Samsung judge, too.



At least the Samsung exec told them that he knew the info. Really bad behavior would be knowing it and not saying anything.

Most importantly, and not reported anywhere, is a very interesting subnote in Grewal's ruling, that the Quinn junior associate had actually redacted the Apple-Nokia names in the document that was FTP'd to Samsung. So that info wasn't available to the exec.

Instead, the exec had guessed the players from the Euro currency markings in the document.


Clearly Quinn exposed info badly, but *maybe* only equally negligently as Apple posting the same information. Where I disagree with you is just how bad Samsung's actions were. The judge said he couldn't legally make the call based on the evidence available, not that it didn't happen. The Samsung exec "admitted" he had the info by crowing about it to a third party in negotiations for Samsung's benefit. This was not an innocent mistake.

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Read the original report then or read what kdarling has written

If you can't have an original thought then why do you keep hitting the reply button over and over?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maelstromr Avatar
134 months ago
This was a very different lapse than what Quinn/Samsung did. Inadvertent publishing, with little (or no?) actual exposure, of Apple's OWN information as opposed to (maybe) inadvertent exposure and then USE IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH A THIRD PARTY of someone's else's information.

Unfortunately only Quinn got sanctioned where the really bad behavior was on the Samsung exec's part.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiRez Avatar
134 months ago
My god, when is someone going to start MacLegalRumors so I don't have to read all this legal crap here? Please just make it stop.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RobertMartens Avatar
134 months ago
If someone with government clearance were to willingly read top secret information posted on the internet without the proper clearance, their clearance would be revoked. While this isn't exactly the same, I'm sure some similar restrictions would apply.

So I've read this comment three times now and I still don't understand it.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)