Appeals court says Apple and Samsung don't have to reveal top secrets in court

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The Apple-Samsung legal wars over tech patents have created a big window into their corporate secrets. But a U.S. appeals court wants to shut that window.

In a ruling Friday, the court said U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh should not have ordered Apple and Samsung to disclose “exceptionally sensitive information” about their sales and profits.

Both companies have been fighting to keep that data private, but Koh had said the disclosure of much information was in the public interest. Apple and Samsung have been locked in years-long litigation about who invented various technologies for smartphones and tablets.

“We recognize the importance of protecting the public’s interest in judicial proceedings and of facilitating its understanding of those proceedings,” the appeals court ruled. “That interest, however, does not extend to mere curiosity about the parties’ confidential information where that information is not central to a decision on the merits. While protecting the public’s interest in access to the courts, we must remain mindful of the parties’ right to access those same courts upon terms which will not unduly harm their competitive interest.”

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