Judge considers sanctions against Samsung, lawyers in dispute with Apple

The lawyers may have provided their clients access to highly confidential information, the judge said

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

Samsung's outside counsel posted the expert report on an FTP (file transfer protocol) site that was accessible by Samsung staff, and emailed instructions for accessing the site, which over 50 Samsung employees including licensing executives are said to have accessed, Judge Grewal noted in the October ruling. In a hearing, Samsung's counsel repeatedly "denied even one violation of the protective order, asserting that such a violation can only occur willfully."

Sharing the information with Samsung could amount to a violation of a "protective order" covering the confidentiality of third-party information shared with the outside counsel. Sanctions in civil suits usually take the form of fines.

The court "still does not have a complete picture of the events giving rise to this procedural flurry," wrote Judge Grewal in his order on Friday.

Based on the evidence and arguments submitted, an "outline does emerge suggesting sanctions" for violations by Quinn Emanuel, which is said to have failed to redact the business information from the expert report, resulting in the "pervasive distribution" of the information to Samsung employees who were not authorized to have access to it, the Judge ruled. Samsung is also said to have made "wrongful use" of the information in preparations for negotiations with Nokia and Ericsson.

Samsung and Quinn Emmanuel have been asked to file a brief by Dec. 2, to show cause why they should not be sanctioned for the violations. Apple and Nokia are also allowed to submit a brief by this same date proposing appropriate sanctions.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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