Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): Patents Involved In Apple-HTC Agreement Cannot Be Kept Under Wraps

Significant details of a legal negotiation between HTC and Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) may go public after a California judge rules his verdict.

The US District Judge Lucy Koh has said that even though the pricing and royalty rates for patents from both the companies must be kept a secret from the public, the rest of the agreement can come out of the wraps.
Koh mentioned in a ruling that the court has time and again explained that only the royalty and pricing terms must be kept under the wraps. There are convincing reasons to seal pricing and royalty terms since they may put the parties associated with the agreement in a significant disadvantage in negotiations that may happen in the future. However, there is no problem in making the remaining portion of the agreement public.

This pertains to a number of patents that were part of the settlement agreement announced the previous month. The agreement had made peace with between HTC and Apple after a dreary legal fight.

The court has explained that the only sealable terms under the license agreement are the royalty and payment terms. Hence, the numbers of patents that are included in the agreement fail to meet the standards of ‘compelling reasons’.

It was late last month when Samsung’s outside lawyers were allowed to go through the confidential details of the agreement. Samsung specifically had said that it intended on seeing the patents that were covered in the agreement as there were chances of them getting overlapped with the ones that were used in its case with Apple.

One of the lawyers of Samsung said that the license has straight bearing on the question of permanent harm and whether monetary remedies are enough.

However, the license could also reveal if Apple had covered some of its unique user experience patents, the ones that it normally does not share with other companies. 

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