Judge Orders Samsung to Show Sales Data in Apple Patent Case

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Samsung's efforts to keep mobile device sales information secret in its ongoing patent infringement fight failed over the weekend when Judge Lucy Koh ruled the company didn't have any compelling reasons for withholding the data. The ruling is part of a mobile device patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in U.S. Federal Court.

Samsung had been hoping to stall the order until it completes its appeal process.

Court orders Samsung to reveal smartphone and tablet sales dataCourt orders Samsung to reveal smartphone and tablet sales data

Samsung has been fighting a ruling requiring it to submit the figures even though it is appealing the Jury's finding that it willfully infringed on several of Apple's patents. Apple won over US$1 billion in damages, but failed to win an injunction that would block the sale of 26 Android-based devices from Samsung.

Judge Koh ordered Samsung to list the total number of certain devices sold during specific timeframes. Details on per-unit profits for two of the company's smartphones, however, won't get published during the appeal process.

Judge Koh told Samsung the exhibit she's requesting "only lists the number of units sold in each of several recent months," according to Bloomberg.

Apple and Samsung have been fighting in courts around the world over claims that they are infringing on each other's mobile device patents. Apple's highest profile win so far came earlier this year when a Federal Jury ruled that Samsung willfully infringed on several of its patents, while ruling Apple wasn't infringing on Samsung's. That big win deflated at the end of 2012, however, when Judge Koh refused to grant Apple a sweeping injunction blocking the sale of Samsung's Android-based devices in the U.S.

Apple requested additional damages in the case, and will use the information Samsung is reluctant to provide in its argument.

Even though Judge Koh shot down Apple's injunction request, the iPhone and iPad maker may still manage to get some of Samsung's smartphones and tablets banned from the U.S. In a separate case, International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender has warned Samsung that it is facing a sales ban on every product it makes that infringes on four of Apple's design patents, and that it will have to post a bond worth 88 percent of the value of the products it could sell during a required Presidential review process.

Judge Pender's ruling is part of an ITC case where the agency found that the Galaxy Note, Galaxy S III, and several other Android-based smartphones and tablets step on Apple's patents. Workarounds for Apple's patents have been approved, so Samsung does have an opportunity to avoid including future products in the ban, but faces the possibility of seeing more than just smartphones and tablets blocked from import during the review process.



Having to reveal real sales numbers is a lose-lose proposition for Samsung.

As we know from the past, Samsung has had a tendency to “exaggerate” sales figures (remember the announced numbers they gave for the first Galaxy Tab, which was found to be less than a tenth of that number in reality, a year later?).

If Samsung’s sales figures are actually as high as they have been hinting, then they face losing a massive monetary forfeit to Apple.

But on the other hand, if Samsung’s sales figures prove that they have inflated their sales numbers as they have done in the past, then Samsung loses credibility with the public and with investors.

Horace Dediu of Asymco made some charts showing that the majority of processors that Samsung manufacturers are for Apple’s products… not for Samsung’s profits.

Looking at those charts, in 2012 Samsung manufactured 3-times as many processors for Apple’s iPhone alone (not counting those for iPads and iPods) than Samsung made for all of their own products (phones, tablets, media players) combined!

With these numbers, Samsung’s claims that they sold more smartphones than Apple did this year makes no sense at all.


Indeed, will we see a repeat of Q2 2012 when Samsung had to reveal that they only sold 37,000 tablets in the USA which cast enormous doubt on the 2.3 million tablets that analysts such as IDC reckoned that Samsung had sold worldwide?

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