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Apple's patent licensing pact with HTC released -- mostly

Thanks to Apple's legal spat with Samsung, more details are revealed in a heavily redacted copy of the Apple-HTC agreement.

Most of the legal settlement between Apple and HTC were made public today, oddly enough thanks to Apple's dispute with Samsung.

When the Apple-HTC settlement was announced last month, few details were released, other than that it is a 10-year joint licensing agreement for all current and future patents from both companies. However, now it also appears that both companies have nonexclusive access to certain of each other's patents, according to a heavily redacted copy of the settlement agreement released this evening (see below). And while Apple agrees not to sue over certain products, it also appears that Apple's design patents are excluded from the agreement.

The document's release was approved earlier this week by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who is overseeing the Apple-Samsung patent dispute and who said that while details of pricing and royalty rates for patents in the Apple-HTC agreement should be kept from public view, the same does not hold true for the rest of the document. Samsung wanted bring the agreement into its spat with Apple to see whether some of the same patents in its case were included in the Apple-HTC agreement.

Late last month, Samsung's outside lawyers were given permission to view confidential details of the Apple-HTC agreement. Samsung specifically said it wanted to see which patents were included in the agreement since there may be some overlap with the ones in the case between itself and Apple. That includes the '381 and '915 patents, which cover "bounce back" and scrolling and zooming, respectively.

The document's release comes on the eve of Samsung and Apple returning to court for a hearing designed to handle some of the aftermath of the August jury verdict that landed squarely in Apple's favor. Some of that includes a motion by Apple to permanently ban at least eight of Samsung's devices in the U.S., as well as a motion by Samsung to get the entire trial thrown out.