Fed Circuit Seals the Deal in Apple Samsung Doc Appeal

By Robyn Hagan Cain on September 20, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Apple and Samsung spent a lot of time and money arguing about patent infringement in this summer's intellectual property battle royale, so it's easy to think that the two tech giants disagree about everything. That's simply not true.

For example, Apple agrees to buy component parts for several of its products from Samsung, and Samsung agrees with Apple that certain records from the recent Apple-Samsung trial should remain sealed.

This week, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with both companies.

Since Apple and Samsung want the records off the record for now, you may be wondering how the appellate court became involved. Patently-O explains that iCourt Judge Lucy Koh ordered many of the previously-secret exhibits from the trial to be unsealed. Both Samsung and Apple appealed.

Historically, courts have recognized a "general right to inspect and copy public records and documents, including judicial records and documents." Unless a particular court record is one 'traditionally kept secret,' there's a strong presumption favoring public access to court records.

In order to overcome this strong presumption, a party seeking to seal a judicial record must offer "good cause" for sealing the record that outweighs the public policies favoring disclosure.

In a per curiam opinion, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals granted the litigants a temporary stay to keep the exhibits sealed.

Nothing, of course, lasts forever.

Apple and Samsung still have to persuade the court to issue a favorable final decision on Judge Koh's order to unseal the documents. The good news for the companies? The Federal Circuit also denied the First Amendment Coalition's petition to intervene and argue for disclosure, so there will be no adversary in this adversarial process, according to Patently-O.

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