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Apple v. Samsung: Third-Party Licenses Become Public and IBM’s License Data Is No Exception

The ongoing patent dispute between Apple and Samsung will have significant consequences for both companies but the impacts do not stop with just those two. During the jury trial, many third parties are likely to have data revealed about their own practices as the court has been reluctant to prohibit the public from viewing many, if not all, aspects of the trial.

IBM will be no exception. IBM filed a temporary restraining order in the Apple/Samsung patent dispute to block its confidential data from becoming public. Triggering the filing of IBM’s request for a temporary restraining order was Reuters’ attempt to publish the terms of a license agreement between IBM and Samsung. IBM appeared before the court requesting an order barring Reuters from publishing certain terms of the license agreement.

The court conducted a hearing on the matter and noted that IBM made several concessions during the hearing. First, the court noted that IBM conceded that the request was for a prior restraint subject to the standards set forth by the United States Supreme Court in New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713, 714 (1971). Second, the court noted that IBM conceded that its request did not meet those standards.

Based on those two concessions, the court denied the request. “The court is sympathetic to the commercial interest, especially those of a third-party, in protecting its licensing terms. It truly is. But ‘[a]ny system of prior restraints of expressions comes to this court bearing a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity.” Id. On a record before the court that includes the IBM concessions noted above, IBM plainly has not rebutted the heavy presumption that its request would have this court violate Reuters’ First Amendment Rights. This the court will not do. IBM’s motion is denied.”

Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Col, LTD., et al., Case No. 11-CV-01846-LHK (N.D. Cal. July 25, 2012)

The authors of are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. We represent inventors, patent owners and technology companies in patent licensing and litigation. Whether pursuing patent violations or defending infringement claims, we are aggressive and effective advocates for our clients. For more information contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or