Apple must share HTC deal details with Samsung

Apple

iPhone maker must provide Samsung with details of licensing deal

A US judge has ordered Apple to give Samsung details of its legal settlement with HTC, including terms of a ten-year patents licensing agreement.

Samsung had filed a motion to compel Apple - with whom it is waging a bitter legal battle over mobile patents across several countries - to reveal details of the settlement that was reached with HTC earlier this month but which have been kept under wraps.

According to legal experts, the question of which patents are covered by the Apple-HTC settlement, and licensing details, could be instrumental in Samsung's efforts to thwart Apple's quest for a permanent sales ban on its products following Apple's recent $1bn legal victory.

Samsung has argued it is "almost certain" that the HTC deal covers some of the same patents involved in its own litigation with Apple.

If there are similarities, it gives Samsung an advantage in any future legal issues and negotiations with Apple

The court ordered Apple to produce a full copy of the settlement agreement "without delay", although the papers would only be seen by lawyers, not made public.

According to analysts, the disclosure could see Samsung use the information in its ongoing cases with Apple.

"It is clearly a very smart move from Samsung - because the general feeling is that a lot of its patent disputes with Apple are very likely to be similar to those between HTC and Apple," Andrew Milroy, an analyst with Frost and Sullivan, told the BBC.

"And if there are similarities, it gives Samsung an advantage in any future legal issues and negotiations with Apple."

The settlement of Apple and HTC ended their worldwide litigation and brought to a close one of the first major flare-ups in the global smartphone patent wars.

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