This may be the end of Nokia Corp.’s persistent pestering to seal files linked to Samsung’s leaks of Nokia’s licensing deals with Apple in the smartphone market, which cam before the long-running Apple iPhone versus Samsung Galaxy patent fight.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal has had enough, he said in an order Tuesday.
“Sealing in this case may just have officially passed from the sublime to the ridiculous,” he wrote.
In 2013, Grewal learned that Samsung had leaked unredacted key terms of Apple’s licensing agreements with Nokia and a raft of other major smartphone players to employees worldwide.
The Apple v. Samsung patent fight has been closely watched by business and technology reporters around the world.. The latest document disclosures are routinely reported.
Grewal sanctioned Samsung in early 2014. But then it got out of control. Nokia asked Grewal to seal hundreds of documents. A few months ago, Grewal agreed to seal some, but refused many more saying the Nokia proposal was not “narrowly tailored to confidential business information.”
Tuesday’s order came in response to Nokia’s renewed effort to seal more material.
Nokia has asked the court to seal multiple references “that are quoted – verbatim – in articles available to anyone on the planet with a web browser and basic internet access.”
He noted that news accounts in 2011 from Business Insider, the Wall Street Journal and AppleInsider, reported that Apple paid Nokia $715 million to settle a patent dispute. But Nokia had asked for the information to be sealed.
Grewal’s order moans that if this were his first lament about sealing in the case, or even the second, third or fourth, he might be more forgiving. “But at some point, the cost of such unwarranted sealing requests to the taxpayers, the press and other parties with equally important claims to the court’s resources must take priority,” he said. Nokia’s request was denied.
Case: Apple v. Samsung, No. 11-cv-1846LHK