By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO, March 15 (Reuters) - A coalition of media
advocacy groups and news organizations will be allowed to argue
at an upcoming federal appeals court hearing over document
secrecy in Apple Inc's high-stakes patent litigation against
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
Filing documents under seal has become almost standard
procedure in intellectual property cases as companies try to
keep their trade secrets and other sensitive business
information from coming out in court.
Throughout the Apple/Samsung case, both companies asked U.S.
District Judge Lucy Koh to seal a range of documents. Reuters
intervened in the trial court to oppose many of those requests.
Koh allowed the companies to keep source code and details of
patent licensing deals secret, but she ordered them to reveal
financial data and other information. Koh's orders are on hold
pending appeal at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the
Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
The California-based First Amendment Coalition, the New York
Times, Bloomberg and several other media organizations signed
amicus briefs urging the court to uphold Koh's orders. They
asked to participate at oral arguments on March 26, but Apple
and Samsung opposed those requests.
In its brief, Samsung argued that such a request should be
granted only in extraordinary circumstances.
In an order on Thursday, the Federal Circuit sided with the
media organizations, saying they would be allowed to share 15
minutes at the arguments, without reducing any time from the
Apple and Samsung are waging legal war in several countries,
accusing each other of patent violations as they vie for
supremacy in a fast-growing market for mobile devices.
The case in the Federal Circuit is Apple Inc vs. Samsung
Electronics Co Ltd., 12-1600.
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