US District Court Judge Lucy Koh today denied Apple’s request to have several documents sealed from public view in its fight to recoup more damages from Samsung than were even awarded by the jury several weeks ago. The documents include “product-specific unit sales, revenue, profit, profit margin, and cost data” that it also wants to use in its argument for a higher award from the court.
Judge Koh basically said that Apple can’t have it both ways. Her decision says to the Cupertino-based company that it can’t use documents in its arguments that it then in turn wants to keep secret. It just doesn’t work that way.
These documents could help Apple win an extra $535 million in damages, reports Joe Mullin over at Ars Technica, on top of the already $1.05 billion the jury awarded the iPhone creator, which has already made this the largest patent verdict ever, if it stands appeal. Samsung, of course, would like a new trial, and argues that the jury foreman wasn’t honest about his own lawsuit history or personal viewpoints around the current US patent system.
If made public, the documents themselves would be another glimpse into Apple’s financial situation, something that only happened during the actual trial last month as a part of the evidence discussed in the highly-reported courtroom battle between tech giants.
“As Apple appears to have realized in introducing that exhibit, it cannot both use its financial data to seek multi-billion dollar damages and insist on keeping it secret,” writes Judge Koh in her order today. “The public’s interest in accessing Apple’s financial information is now perhaps even greater than it was at trial.”
She continued by writing that the extra damages and the sales bans that Apple requested “would have a profound effect on the smartphone industry, consumers, and the public.” She also said that Apple has not provided any new compelling reasons for sealing the documents beyond continuing to assert that the data are trade secrets.
Koh finishes up the order by agreeing to leave the actual unsealing of the documents until the order itself is reviewed by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This order joins a similar one that has already been sent to the Federal Circuit court for appeal as well.
Of course the media wants these documents unsealed, with a separate brief filed arguing for the order to be upheld by many media organizations, including Bloomberg, Dow Jones, The New York Times Company, and The Washington Post. The brief was filed under the Reporters’ Committee for the Freedom of the Press. Another group called The First Amendment Coalition also filed a brief with the Federal Circuit, claiming the same thing.