Apple seeks sanctions against Samsung for sharing patent license terms


In a new twist to their ongoing legal battle over patents and other intellectual property, Apple has filed a new motion for sanctions against Samsung in a California court for sharing confidential information.

According to the filing, Apple is accusing the Korean tech giant of illegally disclosing sensitive details of its 2011 patent licensing agreement with Nokia in order to better negotiate licensing terms for itself…

So how did Samsung get ahold of this info? Well apparently the Apple-Nokia license terms were turned over during the Apple v. Samsung case—it was marked “Highly Confidential — Attorneys’ Eyes Only.”

FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller has the scoop (via MacRumors):

“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.'” 

All in all, the information was sent to over fifty Samsung employees, including high-ranking licensing executives. Specifically, on at least four occasions between March 24, 2012 and December 21, 2012.

Mueller explains that all of this could be “very, very bad” for Samsung, who is also believed to have unlawfully shared information pertaining to Apple’s licensing deals with Ericsson, Phillips and Sharp.

The court obviously needs to know more, so another hearing on the motion for sanctions will be held on October 22. Nokia, who remember is selling most of its mobile business to Microsoft, will participate.