Apple Must Reveal Financial Data, Says Judge in Samsung Case
Apple used its private financial data to great effect in its recent courtroom brawl with Samsung, winning a $1.05 billion damages award. But not without some cost to the notoriously secretive company: The public disclosure of that data.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Thursday denied Apple’s request to seal many of the documents the company used to make its damages case, ordering it to release key financial information regarding “product-specific unit sales, revenue, profit, profit margin, and cost data.” Koh argues that Apple cannot both use its financial data to seek multibillion dollar damages and product injunctions, and keep that data secret.
“Apple’s motion seeks to permanently enjoin the sale of 26 Samsung products that have already been on the market for varying lengths of time, and seeks an enhancement of $535 million on top of the $1.05 billion in damages awarded by the jury,” Koh said in her ruling. “Such remedies would have a profound effect on the smartphone industry, consumers, and the public. As the extensive media coverage indicates, this is a truly extraordinary case of exceptional interest to the public. Apple’s reasons would have to be very compelling indeed to overcome the unsually robust public interest in access.”
And, in Koh’s opinion, they’re simply not. Apple’s main argument for protecting this data is that they are trade secrets that would provide its rivals with a competitive advantage. But evidently that’s not reason enough. And while Koh agreed to a temporary stay, pending federal court appeal, Apple may soon find itself forced to reveal important sales data that it has long kept private. A blow to the company, but great news for investors and analysts that have long guessed at what it might be.