Back on November 8, a US court judge had said that it appeared to him that “sanctions against Samsung and its attorneys are warranted” and also ordered Samsung to explain why there should be none for its lawyers’. This is in relation to leak of confidential Nokia-Apple patent licensing agreement by one of Samsung’s executives sometime back. Apple has produced this licensing agreement in court during the Samsung-Apple litigation meant to be used only by Samsung’s outside counsel (marked as “Highly Confidential — Attorneys’ Eyes Only”). The judge gave Apple and Nokia the opportunity to propose appropriate sanctions.
Now, Nokia and Apple have proposed sanctions against Samsung and its representative law firm in US court.
Apple wants public findings of Samsung’s misconduct and wants Samsung and its lawyers to be required to inform all parties to their other cases of this matter. Since this is a very high-profile case anyway, chances are that other adversaries of Samsung and QE will hear about such sanctions anyway. Furthermore, Apple wants Samsung and QE to be publicly reprimanded. Apple is very interested in preventing Samsung’s executives from making use of the illegally-obtained information.
The mere fact that Nokia is pushing for any sanctions against Samsung is rather interesting considering that Samsung and Nokia announced the extension of an existing patent license agreement (possibly a SEP-only deal) a month ago. Apparently Samsung couldn’t solve the problem with Nokia by writing a check. This ongoing antagonization adds to my gut feeling that they have yet to sort out some patent licensing issues with each other, particularly with respect to non-SEPs.Nokia seeks to prevent “Samsung or any of its employees who received the [Confidential Business Information] from using the CBI in any patent licensing negotiation that involves Nokia”. This doesn’t necessarily mean (though it could mean) that there are still ongoing negotiations. Nokia might also request this with a view to a renewal.
Nokia’s most drastic proposal is that QE be barred for 10 years from any representation of clients in matters adverse to Nokia because Nokia can no longer trust QE’s appropriate treatment of its confidential information, while Apple merely wants to prevent QE from executing new protective orders regarding confidential Apple material for two years but recognizes that its California cases against Samsung are at an advanced stage, which is why Apple does not request that QE be disqualified fom those litigations.
Source: FOSS patents