Apple ordered by U.S. court to reveal iPhone profit margins

The company must now make public certain information used in its U.S. patent battle against Samsung.

Apple won its recent U.S. patent case against Samsung, but the company may have to pay a price by revealing key profit details about the iPhone.

Judge Lucy Koh has ordered Apple to go public with information about its sales, earnings, and profit margins on the iPhone. As a corporation, Apple does report unit sales on its various products each quarter. But it stops short of divulging how much profit it makes on each iPhone.

Apple has maintained that revealing such information would benefit its competitors. But apparently Koh didn't buy that argument.

"Apple has not established that public availability of its product-specific unit sales, revenue, profit, profit margin, and cost data would actually provide its competitors with an advantage," Koh said in her ruling yesterday. "As evidenced by the plethora of media and general public scrutiny of the preliminary injunction proceedings and the trial, the public has a significant interest in these court filings, and therefore the strong presumption of public access applies."

Apple still has a shot to avoid going public with its data. The matter is scheduled to go to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which will render its own decision.

Koh presided over the recent patent case between Apple and Samsung in which the latter was found guilty of patent infringement and ordered to pay penalties of more than $1 billion. Apple has ramped up the legal battle since the verdict.

The iPhone maker is now looking to ban the sale of 26 different Samsung products already on the market and wants $535 million in addition to the $1.05 billion in initial damages. Ironically, those factors played a role in Koh's decision.

"Such remedies would have a profound effect on the smartphone industry, consumers, and the public," she said. "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 unusually robust public interest in access."

Samsung is seeking a whole new trial, claiming that the verdict was tainted after the jury foreman failed to disclose his own legal dealings with former employer Seagate, a company in which Samsung is a major investor.

We have contacted Apple for comment and will update the story when we hear back.

(Via Ars Technica)

 

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