Samsung and Attorneys Fined $2 Million for Leaking Apple’s Confidential Documents

Following close at the heels of the loss of their second patent battle with Apple Inc., it looks like Samsung Electronics and its lawyers are courting even more trouble with the law. As per the laws of the court, documents released to parties engaged in patent battles are to be kept completely confidential. It looks like the court has proof that Samsung has breached this confidentiality. They will be required to pay a fine to the court owing to their lack of discretion.

Samsung Electronics made a mistake.

Samsung Electronics made a mistake.

$2 Million Fine

Samsung Electronics Co. and its patent attorneys are in trouble with the law. According to latest reports, a court has fined Samsung and its patent attorneys for breaching the rules of confidentiality. They will now have to pay a whopping $2 million for misusing the documents that gave them confidential details about the patent deal signed between Apple and Nokia.

Apple Inc.’s patent attorneys had supplied the documents to Samsung and its patent attorneys at the behest of the court. The idea behind doing this was to convince Samsung that Apple was indeed telling the truth about the patent deals they have signed with other companies like Nokia. The documents released by Apple were categorically marked as being “for attorney’s eyes only”. As such, the documents were not to be revealed to any of Samsung’s executives or their marketing department.

In a blatant form of disregard for the court’s rules of discretion and confidentiality, these documents were leaked by Samsung’s patent attorneys. They even went as far as quoting the specific terms of the deal between Apple and Nokia while holding their own negotiations with the Finnish company. By quoting the exact terms of the deal, Samsung’s patent attorneys got themselves into trouble with the law. The negotiation documents proved that Samsung executives had access to the documents released to its patent attorneys and that the orders of the court had been categorically breached.

The court found Samsung and its patent attorneys guilty of flouting their laws and said that the lawyers gad showed “(1) failure to institute sufficient safeguards for third-party confidential information, and (2) failure to comply with the notice and cooperation requirements set forth in Section 18(a) of the protective order entered in this case.”

The court documents went on to say that “With the limited exceptions described above, the court finds that the remaining costs and fees requested by Apple and Nokia are reasonable and shall be awarded. No later than 30 days from this order, Samsung and QE are to pay Nokia a total of $1,145,027.95 and Apple a total of $893,825.77 in fees and costs.”

This is a corporate world war.

This is a corporate world war.

Verdict of Second Patent Battle

As it is Samsung’s patent attorneys have already lost their second patent battle against Apple. In that trial, the verdict showed that Samsung had breached 3 of the 5 patents held by Apple and was asked to pay a little less than $120 million to Apple Inc. Apple too was held guilty of infringing a few lesser patents held by Samsung and was ordered to pay $158,400 to their rivals. As can be seen from the amounts awarded to both companies, this one was a resounding victory for Apple and its patent attorneys who won the day and whopping $120 million award from the court.

Samsung’s Mistake

The $2 million fine proposed by the court now will only serve to make Apple and its patent attorneys feel more vindicated. Sources say that this was in all probability a well thought out plan on Samsung’s part. The advantage of using Apple’s negotiated patent deal details to create their own patent deal with Nokia would outweigh the fine amount.

Samsung Remains Defiant

In the end, the $2 million fine might just be signed off as cost of doing business. Samsung’s executives, meanwhile, have been quoted saying that nothing was confidential in the documents and they could use the material as they saw fit. The court obviously disagrees.