The word "unredacted" is experiencing quite a spike in usage this morning, on news that HTC and Apple are being required to produce the full, uncut version of their patent licensing agreement for use by Samsung's legal counsel. The document in question, which had previously been provided sans 33 words (some of which were, presumably, numbers), was requested by Samsung last week for the purpose of arguing against Apple's post-trial motions for permanent injunctions against infringing Samsung products. To be clear, this request is a part of the already-gone-to-verdict $1 billion trial that happened this summer.

Samsung's request is evidentiary in nature, and because of the highly sensitive material involved, HTC and Apple's settlement will be for "attorney's eyes only," meaning any references to it in the record will be filed under seal, and redacted from any publicly released documents. So, no, we won't figure out what Apple and HTC agreed to, not unless someone at the law firm representing Samsung gets loose-lipped.

This isn't so much a win for Samsung against Apple as it is for Samsung against HTC. HTC made the filing that explicitly requested the financial terms of the agreement be redacted, as the "competitive value" of those specific terms would be lost if seen by Samsung. The judge didn't buy this, and while expressing some serious doubts about Samsung's allegations of their specific importance, granted a motion compelling discovery (production of the document).

This is quite typical of American federal courts, where evidence discovery rules are extremely broad, and allow almost anything of potential relevance to the case at hand to be discovered by either party, so long as it is described in a reasonably precise way. This particular example is pretty precise.

Will this actually help Samsung in its argument against Apple's request for a permanent injunction against Samsung's infringing products? Well, it's pretty unlikely that the specific financial terms will provide much more weight - the fact that HTC and Apple came to an agreement, and the non-fiscal terms, are far more important - though it's certainly conceivable that Samsung's attorneys would like to do a little "courtroom math," in order to show that the judgment against Samsung is basically equivalent to the value of such a licensing arrangement, and that because Apple settled, it could not have suffered the requisite "irreparable harm" for a permanent injunction.

The reason the judge is skeptical of this argument, though (and rightly so), is that a settlement is by its very nature a compromise - parties rarely end up with exactly what they wanted. To argue that HTC and Apple settling means Apple could not have suffered irreparable harm by Samsung's infringement, even if the same patents are involved, assumes a great many things. Anyway, we'll see how this all plays out in the coming weeks.

via The Verge