Samsung can’t just buy HTC to settle with Apple; but gets to see Apple-HTC deal details

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A few days ago we were somewhat surprised to hear that Apple and HTC decided to settle their squabble over patents out of courts, with both companies inking an undisclosed cross-licensing agreement that’s valid at least ten years.

This gave Samsung ammunition for its own legal matters against Apple, with the company asking U.S. courts to grant it permission to see the details of the Apple vs HTC settlement, which could be important for the future Apple vs Samsung proceedings.

Apple and HTC agreed to show Samsung the settlement documents, at least a heavily redacted version that would not let Samsung lawyers in on various crucial details including royalty rates.

CNET now reports that Magistrate Judge Singh Grewal sided with Samsung on the matter, deciding to let its lawyers see the Apple-HTC documents. But only them:

Many third parties to this case have had their licensing agreements disclosed — without any redaction of financial terms — subject to an Attorneys-Eyes-Only designation because the confidential financial terms were clearly relevant to the dispute between Apple and Samsung. HTC is not entitled to special treatment, especially when it has recognized the general sufficiency of the protective order and the integrity of Samsung’s outside counsel.

That means the public will not be told, at least not officially, how much HTC is paying Apple for use of some of their patents on the handsets it produces – apparently it’s not $6-8 as some stories suggested, which prompted HTC’s denial via its CEO, Peter Chou.

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