Apple mistakenly revealed confidential deal with Nokia while seeking damages from Samsung for the same thing

“There’s a surprise turn of events concerning the inadvertent-disclosures issue that became a high-profile sideshow in the global patent dispute between Apple and Samsung,” Florian Müller reports for FOSS Patents. “In late January, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California cleared Samsung but ordered its law firm in the Apple cases, Quinn Emanuel, to pick up the cost for Apple and Nokia’s efforts relating to the inadvertent disclosure of highly confidential Apple-Nokia patent license terms. The court concluded that Apple and Nokia had not delivered proof that Samsung’s licensing executives actually made use of that information in licensing negotiations between Samsung and Nokia. But the oversight by a QE associate (who has since left the firm) was deemed sanctionable.”

“Apple and Nokia were actually seeking draconian sanctions, which the court declined to impose,” Müller reports. “Late last month Apple also renewed a motion asking the ITC to impose sanctions on Samsung for the alleged use of that information in the investigation of Samsung’s complaint against Apple. The original motion and the renewed one are both sealed.”

Müller reports, “Here’s the latest, absolutely stunning development: Apple actually filed the terms of its Nokia license (as well as the terms of a license agreement with NEC) on a publicly-accessible court docket last October, where it remained for about four months until it was finally removed.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Mistakes will be made. While minor in the grand scheme of things, there are no two ways about it: This slip-up was Microsoftian.


  1. Here’s the thing: why are we hearing about this from Quinn Emmanuel now? The possibility that Samsung was going to be sanctioned go back to at least November of last year.

    The discovery that Apple disclosed their terms publicly is nothing but pure, unadulterated luck. QE disclosing the terms to Samsung had _nothing_ to do with that document and everything to do with their unethical, sanctionable behavior.

    The paralegal that saved QE’s ass by finding Apple’s lawyers’ screw-up just got himself a fat fscking promotion.

    1. That’s the most unbelievable statement I’ve ever seen. Talk about sticking your head in the sand. Talk about double standards. You hypocrite. Apple did the same thing that Samsung did. End of story. Quit trying to put a spin on it. Don’t try to act like you know why Samsung did it and just as well why Apple did it. Your comment is preposterous sir. There’s a reason your comment is the only one from a fanboy, the truth hurts. Apple screwed up. They made a mistake. And that’s all you can say about Samsung also. So they both made a mistake. For you to try to impose your interpretation on the facts is embarrassing. Samsung does enough low underhanded things that we can all complain about. Apple doesn’t. Real Apple faithful aren’t fanboys. Real Apple faithful don’t make excuses.

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong (as I may very well be)

        Isn’t the issue at hand here that Samsung poached an employee with the hopes and or intentions of securing exclusive information that employee had gleaned in his previous workings with two arch rivals, Nokia and Apple?

        Wasn’t Apple’s so called Draconian attempts to litigate this unlawful sharing of information something to be expected?

        Isn’t it just serendipity that an error could make this litigation erroneous?

        And let’s be honest, Samsung would rather throw money at their problems and hire someone with need to know info rather than search and search and discover this leaked information in some more harmless manner…

        Samsung is a sneaky corporation who has never done a day of it’s own work. They certainly didn’t discover this info before soliciting it from someone else…

        1. Samsung may be sneaky but Apple made a mistake just like they did. Accept that. Try not to make excuses when the facts are staring you straight in the face. It only makes you look worse. Especially when Apple is complaining and litigating against Samsung and Apple does the exact same thing. You just can’t look at life through rose colored glasses all the time. You lose all credibility. Nothing worse than making excuses.

      2. Try doing a little research before you pull out your hyperbole, if you can be bothered to tax your brain. Here’s the timeline for people interested in facts:

        December 2012: Apple notifies Quinn Emanuel of breach of confidentiality.
        October 2013: breach made public in court documents.
        November 2013: Judge Grewal rules that sanctions for Samsung and/or QE were likely.
        December 2013: QE pleads that the details they released to Samsung _had been inadvertent_ – their words.
        January 2014: judge sanctions Samsung, orders QE to pay Apple’s court costs.

        And now it comes to light that Apple made these terms public. Over a year after QE was notified of their breach, after they publicly stated it was “inadvertent”, now we hear about this?

        The first fucking thing put to paper from Sammy/QE in response to the official request for action against them should have been “How could we have breached confidentiality? APPLE’S LAWYERS MADE THE INFORMATION PUBLIC THEMSELVES.”

        It’s not the first time Sammy or their lawyers have run afoul of those inconvenient ethical constraints that other businesses are forced to subscribe to. Philip Elmer-DeWitt was kind enough to compile a list of their scumminess:

        The fact that none of this makes sense to you – combined with the fact that you jump immediately to the DURRRR FANBOY!!11! trope prove you’re either lazy, ignorant, a Sammy turfer or all three. For the sake of the intelligent Apple fans that comment in this site, I ask you launch yourself from the nearest short pier.

  2. Samsung reminds me of the ferengis in Star Trek New Generation, they (almost) never created any technology on their own..they just stole what they needed or stole money first and then purchased it.

  3. That is a stunning development. You can dish out mea culpa, Apple copies Samsung, or pit fans against each other if you want. I’ve got something else to say.

    Thank you Florian Mueller for your great coverage. You still hold out the idea of what investigative reporting should be. It takes a lot to come forth with this statement: “I must admit I’m disappointed that I didn’t actually discover that information during all those months. I’m sure I’d have seen it at earlier stages of the Apple-Samsung dispute because I was following those cases in more detail then.”

    Looks like this one slipped by everyone and there will no doubt be consequences or perhaps it is an indication of a legal system that is so lost you could part a jet plane on it’s ass and it would take years for it to be noticed.

    At either rate Mr. Florian Mueller, keep going with your writing, it’s refreshing.

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