Samsung Refutes Nokia’s Claims on Apple Licensing Deal

At the beginning of the month, it was reported that Apple was pushing for sanctions against Samsung. This came after revelations that Samsung executives had improperly accessed confidential information from a 2011 licensing agreement between Apple and Nokia.

A recent court order by Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal revealed that a damages report by a Samsung expert, which should have been classified as “Highly Confidential — Attorney Eyes’ Only,” was mistakenly uploaded to a Samsung FTP site accessible to several Samsung employees. This report contained crucial details from the Apple-Nokia licensing agreement.

The situation escalated during Samsung’s licensing discussions with Nokia in June 2013. During these talks, Samsung executive Dr. Seungho Ahn allegedly informed Nokia’s Paul Melin that he was privy to the specific terms of Nokia’s licensing agreement with Apple.

The court document states:

“Specifically, according to Mr. Melin, Dr. Ahn stated that Apple had produced the Apple-Nokia license in its litigation with Samsung, and that Samsung’s outside counsel had provided his team with the terms of the Apple-Nokia license. Mr.

Melin recounts that to prove to Nokia that he knew the confidential terms of the Apple-Nokia license, Dr. Ahn recited the terms of the license, and even went so far as to tell Nokia that ‘all information leaks.’ Mr. Melin also reports that Dr. Ahn and Samsung then proceeded to use his knowledge of the terms of the Apple-Nokia license to gain an unfair advantage in their negotiations with Nokia, by asserting that the Apple-Nokia terms should dictate terms of a Samsung-Nokia license.”

This account was initially provided by Melin.

Today, a hearing is taking place, with Apple, Nokia, and Samsung having submitted numerous court filings. Florian Mueller provides a complete run down of these documents.

Interestingly, Ahn strongly denies Nokia’s interpretation of the events.

“I am certain that I did not tell Mr. Melin at the June 4, 2013 meeting that I received Apple/Nokia licensing terms from my outside counsel in the Apple/Samsung case, because it is not true, and because it would be a very foolish thing to say. I hold a J.D. from an American law school, Santa Clara University, and until I moved to Korea approximately ten years ago I was a member of the California Bar.

I am well aware of the importance of protective orders in United States litigation. I have been responsible directly or indirectly for the supervision of hundreds of patent litigations. In most, if not all of them, a protective order is entered. These invariably cover license terms which I know from experience are highly confidential and sensitive information. The confidentiality of this type of license information is as important to Samsung as it is to any other technology company. It would be incredibly reckless for me to have made such a comment to Nokia. It would amount to my admitting to an adversary that our outside counsel and Samsung had violated a protective order protecting the adversary’s information and that I was attempting to use the information gained by such a violation to negotiate license terms. The idea that I would violate a protective order is simply wrong, and the idea that I would tell my adversary that I and my outside counsel had violated it and furthermore were violating it in that very instance by trying to profit from its use is preposterous.

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Frank is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest news and insights about Apple products. With a keen eye for detail, Frank covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest updates on macOS and iPadOS. His articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex tech topics accessible to everyone. When he’s not writing, Frank enjoys exploring new features on his Apple Watch and testing out the latest MacBook Pro. His commitment to staying up-to-date with all things Apple ensures that TUAW readers are always in the know.