Samsung is accusing Apple of leaking Nokia licensing agreement documents through a publicly accessible docket related to their ongoing mobile device patent infringement battle. If that sounds familiar, it's probably because Apple accused Samsung of leaking the very same documents last year.
Samsung says Apple leaked confidential licensing documents, too
The Court was notified of the leak at the end of February, according to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. "Apple actually filed the terms of its Nokia license (as well as the terms of a license agreement with NEC) on a publicly-accessible court docket last October, where it remained for about four months until it was finally removed," he said.
Samsung and its legal firm Quinn Emanuel were accused of leaking Apple and Nokia licensing agreement documents, and then using the information to gain the upper hand in its own licensing negotiations with Nokia. The documents were intended for special witnesses who needed the information to form their testimonies, and not for open viewing by anyone else.
In the end, the Court ruled that Quinn Emanuel was at fault for the leak and that there wasn't enough evidence to show that Samsung then used the information inappropriately.
Apple and Nokia pushed for strong sanctions against Samsung, but the Court didn't thing there was proof that actual harm had been done. Instead, the focus was on Quinn Emanuel's attorneys and their negligent release of the files.
This new revelation could play out in Samsung's favor because it's an opportunity to reduce the money Quinn Emanuel must pay as part of its punishment for releasing the licensing agreements. In its filing, Samsung said,
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.
The documenent also said Apple publicly filed confidential business information about Samsung and Google.
Considering Apple inadvertently released the same documents, it's likely the court will reduce the Quinn Emanuel fine and could demand more information from the iPhone and iPad maker about how the agreements ended up in a public filing. Samsung could also ask the Court to impose sanctions against Apple.
A hearing on the matter is set for April 8. Apple has not commented on Samsung's filing.