Last month, Apple filed a motion against Samsung in a California court for sharing confidential information. In the filing, the iPad-maker accused the Korean tech giant of disclosing details regarding its Nokia patent licensing agreement.
Samsung learned the terms of the deal during its court battle with Apple, and although the info was marked “attorney’s eyes only,” it used it to negotiate better licensing terms for itself—which Apple says is very illegal. And the judge agrees…
“A judge has determined that Samsung probably violated a court-ordered agreement to keep Apple documents secret, the latest snit in the epic patent battle between the companies that started in the summer of 2012.
Judge Paul Grewal asked to look over the documents himself last month. Now, “having finally crawled out from under the boxes,” he says it does look like the order was breached and “sanctions against Samsung and its attorneys are warranted.”
Apple gave Samsung copies of confidential patent licensing agreements with a number of companies during the discovery process of their lawsuit. The information came with a protective order saying it could only be used in the patent case.
But Samsung ended up leaking the documents to nearly 100 employees and some 130 unauthorized lawyers, and has been caught (by Nokia) trying to use the information as leverage in negotiating patent licensing agreements with other firms.
Nokia has joined Apple in a call for sanctions, and the judge has asked the two companies to present recommendations for punishment at a hearing on December 9. Samsung, for its part, says that it “deeply regrets” the “inadvertent disclosure.”