Apple Accuses Samsung of Sharing Confidential Nokia Patent-Licensing Details

Published on October 3, 2013
by John Paczkowski

TopSecretApple has asked a California court to sanction Samsung for inappropriately sharing with its executives a confidential patent-licensing deal shielded by protective order in its landmark intellectual-property case against the company.

A new filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Wednesday shows Apple alleging that some “Highly Confidential — Attorneys’ Eyes Only” licensing agreements it provided to Samsung’s outside counsel were given to the Korean company’s executives. Those agreements described the terms of an Apple-Nokia patent license and were not to be shared with anyone beyond Samsung’s legal team.

But, according to Apple, they were. The company alleges that they somehow found their way, unredacted, into the hands of dozens of Samsung executives, including Dr. Seungho Ahn, who leveraged them during licensing negotiations with Nokia.

From the filing:

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.

Shady stuff, if it’s true — and troubling. U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal has ordered Samsung to make Ahn available for deposition, and scheduled a hearing on the matter for Oct. 22.

Samsung declined comment.

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