The dramatic intellectual-property saga that is the ginormous Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. patent saga is adding yet another rich chapter this week, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is hearing an appeal of an order by Judge Lucy Koh – who presided over the original jury trial in the summer of 2012 – which ordered that key financial information about both companies be revealed and made public.
Among their vicious court battle, which has already cost both companies millions of dollars to wage, and their disagreement about patents being infringed or not, there is this one piece of agreement between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. – they both agree that the financial information in their court documents are too sensitive and should not be made public – they are considered by both companies as sacred as their respective source code and trade secrets, which Koh allowed to remain under seal. The two companies have allied to fight the order, asking the circuit court to oveturn the order and seal the documents.
The New York Times, Bloomberg and other media groups have been wanting to get access to the financials, and they are arguing to uphold the order and force Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to revel the information – only some of which is even made available to investors in the companies. In arguments before the appeal court the judges seemed less that convinced that Judge Koh made the right call to unseal the documents.
“You really seem to be saying that a trade secret is the formula for Coke and not much else,” Judge William Bryson said. “If there are investors out there who are very interested in the (sealed financial data), are they part of the public interest?”
What do you think? Should Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., being publicly traded companies, be forced to reveal their financial information to the general public? Can you see the financial information being sensitive to both companies? Is there information in particular you think the companies really want to protect? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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