Don’t Care How, Samsung Wants Copy of Apple-HTC Settlement Now
For a company that says it has no intention of settling its patent battle with Apple, Samsung sure is curious about the details of the iPhone maker’s recent settlement with Android handset-maker HTC. On Friday Samsung asked a court to force Apple to provide it with a copy of the HTC deal, arguing that it likely covers some of the patents involved in its own case with Apple.
“As you know, the issue of Apple’s willingness to license its patents was briefed in Samsung’s opposition to Apple’s motion for permanent injunction,” Samsung wrote in its filing with the court. “This license has direct bearing on the question of irreparable harm and whether monetary remedies are adequate.”
Now, Samsung already knows that at least two of the patents Apple asserted against it were also asserted against HTC. But what it really wants to know is whether they were Apple’s most prized patents, the ones it said in court that it was unwilling to license — especially to rivals. “These patents are Apple’s unique user experience intellectual property,” Boris Teksler, Apple’s director of patent licensing and strategy, said during testimony in the Apple-Samsung trial. “They’re the ones that make our brand identity and keep competitive us in the marketplace.”
If Apple did license those patents to HTC, then it may well have given Samsung a new weapon with which to fend off the company’s request for a permanent U.S. sales ban on some of its products. Apple’s request for that injunction is based on the company’s argument that Samsung’s behavior caused it “irreparable harm.” If Apple’s deal with HTC shows that it was willing to accept licensing fees for the same IP it said it couldn’t possibly license to Samsung, the argument for an injunction loses its teeth. Monetary damages should suffice.
Said Samsung, “The HTC license bears directly on Apple’s assertion in its reply brief that ‘Apple considers these patents “unique to its user experience” and unavailable for licensing, particularly to competitors.’”