Top secret Apple and Samsung Seeking to Keep Embarassing Documents Secret

Apple and Samsung, days before the start of their trial in San Jose, are seeking to have certain documents kept secret from the public, arguing that the confidential information contained in them would be harmful to them and their industry if they were made public.

With Apple and Samsung drawing the battle lines and preparing for a court battle in San Jose next week, a secondary skirmish is erupting on the sidelines. Apple and Samsung, along with various other tech companies associated with the embattled mobile giants, such as Intel, Qualcomm and Microsoft, are begging the court to keep various details in the court filings away from the public view. These filings include various sensitive details the companies want kept private, such as product diagrams, contract terms and internal market research. Apple has also sought to keep expensive market research reports it purchased, arguing that if these reports were revealed it would destroy the value of the reports along with the relationships between Apple and the research firms who produced the studies.

Reuters, the well-known news agency, is fighting to have these requests denied, arguing that almost everything should be made public despite the objections of the various tech companies. Reuters’ attorneys said in their motion opposing the requests that “[the] third parties’ reliance upon agreements they may have made with Apple or Samsung for confidentiality is not a compelling reason to seal, and their license terms do not rise to the level of trade secrets meriting sealing.”

This skirmish comes just ahead of the main trial, which is set to begin on Monday. The judge has already limited the scope of what may be kept private by Apple and Samsung as the trial draws nearer. In a filing on Friday, Apple narrowed the number of documents that it is seeking to keep private; only four briefs and 30 documents of the hundreds filed in the case are being argued by Apple to be highly sensitive. “if the select documents that Apple seeks to seal and redact are allowed to enter the public record, Apple will be irreparably harmed in innumerable ways,” the company said. “Apple’s business partners will lose trust in Apple when their confidential material, shared with Apple under the understanding it would be protected, is opened to the world, destroying the market for third-party research company’s reports and revealing highly sensitive details of heavily negotiated license agreements. Apple’s competitors will gain in-depth knowledge of Apple’s cost structure and profit margins, as well as intelligence into Apple’s market.”

Apple and Samsung have proposed a procedure by which they would jointly submit to the court trial exhibits that they would like to be redacted as well. The two companies, despite their legal dispute, made a joint filing in which they said that “[while] the parties have yet to reach a final agreement that would eliminate the need to introduce exhibits that contain highly sensitive information, both Samsung and Apple are committed to negotiating in good faith to minimize the need for maintaining the confidentiality of trial exhibits and ensuring that the trial remains an open forum.”