Last week, to the surprise of many, Apple and HTC collectively announced a global settlement to all their legal disputes, after the two companies agreed to a ten year patent licensing agreement, details of which were kept confidential.
Samsung, another high profile company engaged in a legal dispute with Apple, has now asked a U.S. judge to turn over a copy of Apple’s agreement with HTC to know the extent to which the deal covered Apple’s patent portfolio.
Apple has, in the past, indicated that it wasn’t keen on licensing many of its patents, especially those related to its “user experience.” These patents, it said, differentiated Apple’s products from its rivals, and licensing it would mean losing a competitive edge. Samsung, armed with a copy of the agreement, hopes to prove this wrong. From Reuters’ report:
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which could face a sales ban following a crushing jury verdict against it in August, asked a U.S. judge on Friday to force Apple to turn over a copy of the HTC agreement.
In a court filing, Samsung argued it is “almost certain” that the HTC deal covers some of the patents involved in its own litigation with Apple.
Judges typically prefer a settlement between the two parties over an outright sales ban:
To secure an injunction against Samsung, Apple must show the copying of its technology caused irreparable harm and that money, by itself, is an inadequate remedy.
If Apple has indeed licensed its “user experience” related patents to HTC, it could undermine Apple’s arguments in court.
Apple had previously offered Samsung a license to its patents for a steep royalty of $30 per smartphone and $40 per tablet, and information from HTC’s deal with Apple could put the Korean company in a better negotiating position.