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Apple and Samsung spar over leaked license contracts

James Niccolai | Oct. 24, 2013
Apple says Samsung has used the leaked documents to its competitive advantage

Grewal wasn't ready to decide on the matter Tuesday. "I am not yet satisfied that sanctions are warranted in this matter," he said. But he hasn't ruled out the possibility either, and said he would review more documents before making his decision.

Apple provided the information to Quinn Emanuel during the discovery phase of a lawsuit in California in which Apple was awarded damages of US$1 billion against Samsung. Both parties provide such information to help calculate the damages they might be entitled to, but it's covered by a protective court order and only outside lawyers are supposed to see it

But Quinn Emanuel acknowledges posting to an FTP server a version of the damages report that hadn't been sufficiently redacted, or blacked out. From there, it was accessed by Samsung employees who emailed it around the company.

The leak came to light in June during a license negotiation between Samsung and Nokia. According to testimony from Nokia's chief intellectual property officer, a Samsung executive told him at the meeting that he knew the terms of Nokia's licensing contract with Apple.

The Samsung executive told Nokia that Apple had produced the agreement in its litigation with Samsung, and that Samsung's outside counsel then shared it with Samsung employees.

In written testimony this week, the Samsung executive now says he only "pretended" to have seen the contract, Lee said in court Tuesday. He also denies saying he received any information from Samsung's law firm.

Grewal said he would have to make a "credibility determination" based on the testimony from the Nokia and Samsung executives — or basically decide who he believes.

Quinn suggested there may have been a miscommunication at the meeting, saying neither the Samsung or Nokia officials present spoke English as a first language. "Scandinavian people, in my experience, are pretty good at English, but none were native English speakers," he said.

But what happened at the June negotiation is only part of Apple's beef. Apple and Nokia both accuse Samsung of failing to comply with a court order to conduct discovery and provide them with emails and testimony to determine how widely Apple's information was shared and how it was used.

Samsung appointed an e-discovery firm, Stroz Friedberg, to investigate the matter independently, but Samsung has "hijacked" the company and it is clearly working for Samsung, said an attorney for Nokia, Randall Allen of Alston & Bird.

Apple's attorney complained that most of the emails Samsung provided it with are blacked out, and Allen said Nokia hasn't received any information at all. "We still don't have answers to the most basic questions," Allen said.

He blasted Samsung for having the "temerity" to suggest it wanted to engage in its own "offensive discovery."

 

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