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Samsung Loses Bid to Block Sanctions in Apple Patent Case

Samsung Electronics Co. lost a bid to block a ruling requiring it to produce information about the extent of its violation of a court order protecting Apple Inc.’s patent licensing agreements.

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, upheld U.S. Magistrate Paul S. Grewal’s sanction requiring Samsung to produce Apple e-mails, communications among Samsung employees, and to make available to Apple various witnesses because of its violation. Samsung argued Grewal’s order was “grossly overbroad,” and would cause it to violate attorney-client protections.

“In light of the fact that Samsung has been unable to produce satisfactory answers to any questions about the extent and use of the improper disclosures despite having three months to investigate, this court finds that it was necessary for Magistrate Judge Grewal to order court-supervised discovery and that the scope of his order was not overly broad,” Koh wrote in her ruling yesterday.

Koh’s order is part of a patent dispute in federal court in San Jose, California, between the companies covering technology in smartphones. In the first of two lawsuits, a jury awarded Cupertino, California-based Apple $1.05 billion in damages -- later lowered to $639.4 million -- finding Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung infringed six of the iPhone maker’s mobile-device patents.

Nokia, Ericsson

The violation concerns copies of Apple’s patent license agreements with Nokia Oyj, Ericsson, Sharp Corp. and Royal Philips NV. Apple produced reports containing “key terms” of the agreements -- marked “Attorney Eyes’ Only” -- as part of information sharing in the patent-infringement litigation before Koh, according to Grewal’s Oct. 2 order.

Samsung’s outside counsel e-mailed a version of the report to Samsung employees and lawyers representing the company in “courts and jurisdictions outside the United States,” according to the order.

Adam Yates, a Samsung spokesman, declined to comment on Koh’s ruling. Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, also declined to comment on it.

The earlier case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-1846, and the second case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-cv-630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

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