US judge orders Apple to reveal profit margins

Summary:Judge Lucy Koh has ordered Apple to release 'secret' financial information that could reveal how much the company makes on each iPhone or iPad sold.

The judge who presided over the patent case between Apple and Samsung in August has ordered the US company to reveal key financial information used as evidence in the court battle.

Beyond continuing to assert that its financial data are 'trade secrets,' Apple has not provided any new arguments for why this information should be protected

At the time, Samsung was ordered to pay $1.05bn in damages after a nine-person jury sided with Apple in the battle over design characteristics and patents found in the iPhone and iPad.

As part of its financial obligation as a public company, Apple regularly discloses its revenues and profits but it is careful not to reveal mark-up figures for individual products as it claims the details will give competitors an unfair advantage.

Judge Lucy Koh of the US District Court in San Jose remained unconvinced, however.

"Apple has not established the public availability of its product-specific unit sales, revenue, profit, profit margin, and cost data would actually provide its competitors with an advantage," Koh wrote in the filing (PDF) on Wednesday.

"Beyond continuing to assert that its financial data are 'trade secrets,' Apple has not provided any new arguments for why this information should be protected. Accordingly, consistent with the 9 August order, this court finds that Apple's unit sales, revenue, profit, profit margin, and cost data do not meet the 'compelling reasons' standard. Apple's motion to seal is denied," Koh added.

While the specifics of the figures being requested are not yet known, they are different to those requested on 9 August. As a result of the 9 August disclosure order still being discussed in the Federal Court of Appeals, Koh said that the freshly requested documents will not be released until that process has been completed.

Apple will still have the option of appealing this second disclosure order.

Despite Apple managing to claw back $1bn with its ruling in the US, it was less successful in the UK, where a court ruled that Samsung had not copied elements of the iPad for its own tablet device, the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Apple has been forced to acknowledge this by running adverts highlighting that Samsung didn't infringe on its designs in several national newspapers in an effort to correct public opinion. The UK Supreme Court could still overturn this decision if Apple appeals.

Topics: Apple, iPad, Legal, Patents, Samsung

About

Sam is generally at his happiest with a new piece of technology in his hands or nailing down an exclusive story. In the past he's written for The Engineer and the Daily Mail, covering emerging technology in electronics, energy, defence, materials, aerospace, automotive and healthcare. These days, Sam is particularly interested in emerging... Full Bio

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