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Samsung Again Owes Apple Almost $1 Billion, Sanction Deadline Nears – eDiscovery Case Law

The news continues to get worse for Samsung Electronics Co. in its colossal legal battle with Apple Inc…

A California federal jury ruled on November 21 that Samsung owes Apple $290.5 million for selling mobile devices that infringed five iPhone and iPad patents, bringing the total awarded for infringing on Apple products to almost $930 million.

The jury deliberated over the course of three days before reaching its decision and awarding the amount, which was less than the $380 million Apple sought from Samsung, but far more than Samsung’s efforts to cap damages at $53 million.

In August of last year, Apple was awarded over a billion dollar verdict, but U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh later reduced those damages to a measly $599 million and ordered a retrial on 13 of Samsung’s products, saying the earlier jury’s math on those gadgets didn’t add up.

And, that may not be the worst of it for Samsung.  Due to the disclosure of confidential agreements that Apple had with Nokia, Ericsson, Sharp and Philips – now widely referred to as “patentgate” – Samsung and its outside counsel Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP are facing sanctions for that disclosure.

According to a declaration from Nokia’s Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Paul Melin, on June 4, in a meeting between Samsung and Nokia licensing executives, Dr. Seungho Ahn informed Nokia that the terms of the Apple-Nokia license were known to him. 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.”

Partner John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel acknowledged the inadvertent disclosure, which was apparently due to an associate at the firm failing to obscure a footnote and two paragraphs while performing a digital redaction of a 150-page report which was posted on an FTP site that was accessible by Samsung personnel.

As a result, California Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal ordered an “in camera” review of documents that Samsung claimed as privileged which Apple doubted that they were legitimately withheld from its lawyers.  Then, on November 8 after the review was conducted, Judge Grewal ordered Samsung and Quinn Emanuel to show cause why they should not be sanctioned, stating that “it appears…that sanctions against Samsung and its attorneys are warranted”.  However, he gave Samsung one last chance to defend its actions ordering Samsung to file a brief by December 2 (today) to explain why it should not be sanctioned, while also allowing Apple and Nokia to file a brief to propose appropriate sanctions, with a hearing on the matter set for next Monday, December 9.

So, what do you think?  Can it get any worse for Samsung?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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