A U.S. judge Wednesday ordered Apple (AAPL) to disclose details of its patent-sharing deal with HTC to its rival, Samsung Electronics.
Apple and HTC signed a 10-year patent cross-licensing deal earlier this month, but did not make the financial terms public. Samsung, which is the latest tech company to be challenged by Apple’s lawyers over mobile patents across several countries, asked the courts to order Cupertino to provide the information.
It said it was “almost certain” the 10-year licensing deal that settled all of Apple-HTC lawsuits around the world, covered some of the patents at the centre of Samsung’s dispute with Apple.
After rejecting HTC’s argument with the court that it would be harmed if it were to disclose the Apple settlement details, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal accepted Samsung’s motion and ordered the iPhone-maker to produce “without delay” an “unredacted” version of its HTC settlement, subject to an “attorneys-eyes-only” designation.
“Many third parties to this case have had their licensing agreements disclosed subject to an attorneys-eyes-only designation because the confidential financial terms were clearly relevant to the dispute between Apple and Samsung,” the court said.
According to Samsung, the settlement agreement “undermines Apple’s assertion that an injunction is a more appropriate remedy than money damages.” Samsung’s position is that a royalty is a more suitable alternative to a permanent injunction.
A public version of the licensing deal, which was first discovered by Foss Patents’ Florian Müller was, as previously agreed by Apple and HTC, heavily redacted — with over 90% of the content blacked out.
The ruling could be instrumental in Samsung’s case against an Apple-sought ban of eight Samsung products in the U.S.