If you’re going to horse-trade on patents, it might help to know how much other companies have paid for them, no? Samsung has now been accused of corporate spying for exactly that purpose. The company’s legal negotiator, Dr. Seungho Ahn, apparently told Nokia that its terms with Apple “were known to him,” despite the fact they were marked “highly confidential — attorneys’ eyes only.” This means they should have been for Samsung’s outside counsel only, and strictly off-limits for gaining leverage in any negotiations.
Court documents show that up to 50 Samsung employees were given non-redacted copies of Apple agreements with not only Nokia, but Ericsson, Sharp and Philips, too. Samsung denied any wrongdoing, saying that “such a violation can only occur willfully” and denied the need for further discovery. Still, US judge Paul S. Grewal ordered Samsung to release selected documents and emails to Apple and provide testimony from Dr. Ahn. The result of that will determine the severity of any sanctions, and perhaps make Dr. Ahn regret another thing he told Nokia: “all information leaks.”