Samsung have been successful in their petition to the courts to compel Apple to disclose the contents of the settlement it made with HTC. This move by Samsung was motivated by Apple deciding to licence some of its patents to HTC. Samsung’s lawyers were eager to know whether any of these patents were patents which Apple declared in open court that would never be licensed to third parties as a matter of policy.
The ruling was handed down by US Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal who is currently overseeing the “discovery” process in the Apple v. Samsung case. Discovery is the process by which both sides of the litigation bring together all facts and evidence. On the day before Thanksgiving (21st November 2012), he issued the order that Apple had to disclose the terms of the settlement to Samsung. This order also included additional time for further depositions relating to post-trial briefing over possible additional damages or injunctions.
The settlements will be available to Samsung on a strictly “need to know” basis, meaning that only Samsung’s attorneys will actually be able have sight of the documents. This evidence could be crucial for Samsung which are currently risking an injunction that would prevent them from selling most of their phones on the U.S. market or having to pay further damages. The next hearings will take place in early December.