Judge: Samsung gets to view Apple-HTC settlement details

Samsung's lawyers will be able to see the full settlement agreement made between Apple and HTC earlier this month.

Josh Lowensohn
Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
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Apple vs. Samsung

Samsung will be privy to some details of a confidential settlement agreement between Apple and HTC, a California judge ruled today.

Samsung's lawyers were given the go-ahead to view confidential details of the agreement that made peace between Apple and HTC earlier this month, following an impromptu hearing ordered by Magistrate Judge Singh Grewal this morning.

That deal, announced November 10, put an end to all litigation between the two companies. Many expect the same thing to eventually happen between Apple and Samsung, but recent comments made by officials of the South Korean technology giant suggest even talks about a deal are out of the question.

Samsung made its request for Apple to provide a copy of its patent license agreement with HTC last week. Samsung specifically said it wanted to see which patents were included as part of the agreement since there may be some overlap with the ones used in the case between it and Apple. That includes the '381 and '915 patents, which cover "bounce back" and scrolling and zooming, respectively.

"This license has direct bearing on the question of irreparable harm and whether monetary remedies are adequate," one of Samsung's lawyers wrote in the group's request.

In a filing yesterday, Apple said it and HTC were willing to provide the agreement to Samsung's lawyers. That was with the caveat that it was only released to the attorneys, and with numerous details -- including royalty rates -- redacted.

In a ruling this evening, Judge Grewal said the court wouldn't let the two companies serve up a heavily marked-up document because the only group to see it would be the lawyers:

Many third parties to this case have had their licensing agreements disclosed -- without any redaction of financial terms -- subject to an Attorneys-Eyes-Only designation because the confidential financial terms were clearly relevant to the dispute between Apple and Samsung. HTC is not entitled to special treatment, especially when it has recognized the general sufficiency of the protective order and the integrity of Samsung's outside counsel.

Both companies are due back in court on December 6 for a hearing that is expected to iron out 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 one by Samsung that seeks to get the entire trial thrown out.