Last month, HTC and Apple decided to play nice when they reached a settlement over a patent licence. While Apple was forced to tell Samsung how much that deal was worth, it thought the rest of the case was secret — but it turns out that might not quite be the case.
In a court ruling from US District Court Judge Lucy Koh, it’s been made obvious that secrets only stretch so far:
“This Court has repeatedly explained that only the pricing and royalty terms of licence agreements may be sealed… There are compelling reasons to seal pricing and royalty terms, as they may place the parties to the agreement at a disadvantage in future negotiations, but there is nothing in the remainder of the agreement that presents a sufficient risk of competitive harm to justify keeping it from the public.
“The Court has just explained that the only sealable terms of the licence agreement are the payment and royalty terms. Thus, the list of patents covered by the agreement does not meet the ‘compelling reasons’ standard.”
That means the full list of patents discussed in the case and settlement should be publicly available at some point. It will be interesting to see just what it was that compelled HTC to sign up to a 10-year deal with Apple. [CNET]