Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung have both been ordered by a judge of a lower court to unseal some of their financial documents in connection with the pending patent litigation between them. The order is on hold until an appeals court decides whether to uphold it or not. Media organizations are pushing the appeals court to uphold the order
Reuters reports that the organizations are asking the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a ruling from a lower court which ordered both companies to unseal the documents. The court is now weighing public interest versus the companies’ trade secrets in connection with the case.
If the appeals court does force the two companies to unseal their documents, this would set a precedent for high level patent cases like the many that exist between the two tech giants.
The coalition includes the New York Times, Bloomberg and other media organizations. It argued today that the sealed documents must be made accessible so that the public can gain a better understanding of the entire judicial process and also why one of the companies could prevail over the other. It also argued that the companies have now shown that unsealing the information would cause harm to their business.
The Federal Circuit panel however, questioned whether the definition of trade secrets is not wide enough and whether the interest of the public is too wide. Thus far both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) have been allowed to keep certain details like source codes and patent licenses sealed, although the judge handling the case did tell them to unseal financial information and other details.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung have been facing off in courts around the world as each tries to outdo the other in the world of patents. Reuters said that it had gotten involved in the trial to voice opposition against most of the companies’ requests to seal documents. Now the judge’s order to unseal some of the documents is on hold until the appeal’s court makes a decision.