Hey, remember how Samsung and Apple were in legal wranglings with one another? Yeah, we almost forgot, too. They’re still suing each other across the globe, but a recent revelation that Samsung executives may have been privy to the Apple-Nokia agreement is a big problem — for both Apple and Samsung.
According to a Magistrate Paul Grewal, it was Apple who may have shown Samsung the terms of the deal. This all had to do with Apple’s patent licensing agreement with Nokia regarding the iPhone, which may have had precedence in the Samsung/Apple litigations. According to the filing, obtained by Foss Patents, Samsung made no bones about their knowledge:
According to a declaration from Nokia’s Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Paul Melin, on June 4, 2013, in a meeting between Samsung and Nokia licensing executives, Dr. Seungho Ahn informed Nokia that the terms of the Apple-Nokia license were known to him. Specifically, according to Mr. Melin, Dr. Ahn 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.
Mr. Melin recounts 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.” Mr. Melin also reports that Dr. Ahn and Samsung then proceeded to use his knowledge of the terms of the Apple- Nokia license to gain an unfair advantage in their negotiations with Nokia, by asserting that the Apple-Nokia terms should dictate terms of a Samsung-Nokia license.
This seems like a strong-arm tactic by Apple, as the order went on to note that Apple asked for confidentiality from Samsung in disclosing the information to them. Grewel also claims that lawyers made the information available via email to several Samsung employees, and available for download via their FTP site.
The judge in this case wants to depose Dr. Ahn as soon as possible to discuss this matter. It’s not clear whether a settlement or agreement from another case can be considered work product, but it doesn’t fit the traditional definition, and a sealed court order would have implications on that. It seems that, moving forward, the Apple v. Samsung waters have been muddied a great deal.