US judge orders Apple to reveal profit margins

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

Sam Shead

About Sam Shead

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. These days, Sam is particularly interested in emerging technology, datacentres, cloud, storage and web start-ups.

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  • The question is bass-ackwards.

    In America, it should be the judge needing to justify why the information needs to be public.
    • usually that is right

      BUt IIRC, Apple used those numbers to justify the amount they were suing for. Since this is now under appeal, they want to review the numbers to justify the award. It makes sense.
      • This is what Apple gets for trying to patent troll

        If you want sue for damages you better show exactly what those damages are. If you aren't ready for that then don't sue.

        Ahh justice! :D
        • You assume they are just trolling

          Not an assumption I would care to make.
        • Apple Relies on Samsung's FTZ Tax & Duty Benefits!

          This is going to get really interesting now. Neither of them wanted to release all this information and now we should more about the contract between the two. That's something she was debating on before.

          With her already revealing all the redacted evidence and information having to do with the jury foreman the public is going to finally know the truth behind this partnership and who's getting the best of who. I think both companies are getting a better deal than their customers and now we'll soon know why Apple isn't in such a big hurry to leave Samsung and it's Federal Trade Zone perks behind!
      • No need to make the numbers

        public to arrive at that determination. Release to the court should be sufficient.
    • $

      Actually, I think Apple should disclose the Chinese sweat shops it uses to produce their good but outrageously priced products.
      • Samsung directly operates five factories which use child labour in China

        and yet there is no mass-media which try to run with this story.

        Apple was the last of big IT companies to stop their own assembly factories back in 2004, and they never operated a factory with a child labour.

        And Samsung does, and does it to this day.

        Your comment contains words or phrases associated with spam and will not appear on the site until it has been checked by a moderator.
        • That's A Direct LIE!

          The Chinese Workers Agency that reported that only referred to out sourced child labor violations. Not to Samsung's own factories in China. In fact Apple and it's out sourced assembly just got hit again for findings of 14yo's working on Apple's products. Samsung only has a few factories of their own right now.

          But Samsung is building state of the art assembly plants to replace out sourced suppliers there and have begun construction on the most advanced Memory Fabrication plant at a cost of $7 Billion Dollars. Which will be hiring mostly Engineering and high paying jobs in China.

          Let's see Apple invest some of their obscene profits off theirs and Terry Gou's Foxconn cash cow??? Especially since he's the one referring to the Chinese Workers as "Animals" that only give him headaches. Granted though..... both Apple and Samsung are attempting to do something to cure these underage worker woes. But neither have control of these Taiwanese and Chinese companies they outsource parts and product production to!
          • The agency reported about sever or eight factories with child labour, ...

            including five directly operated by Samsung. And neither I nor the agency said that Samsung *owns* those factories; only that they *directly operated* by Samsung. Though it does not make it any better for Samsung.
          • The direct lie

            Is from YOU KronJohn. Apple does not own the maufactuing company used to manufacture the iOS devices. Apple paid for an independent 3rd party audit of Foxconn and THAT audit uncovered violations that Apple made public and had Foxconn correct.

            Samsung on the other hand did nothing to stop child labor in their directly owned manufacturing facilities.
        • Ya?

          Where is this story that says Samsung has underaged sweatshops? Try showing links instead of creating useless information.
          "and yet there is no mass-media which try to run with this story." - Is this now a conspiracy? Samsung paying the media? I thought only Microsoft did that?
      • Apple HAS disclosed the manufactuing company

        they use - it's Foxconn. And as I noted below Apple had an independent 3rd party audit done which uncovered issues with Foxconn that were later corrected. Nice try with the FUD though.
    • America - South, Central, or North?

      BTW, "America" could be South, Central, or North. Please specify to which you are referring.
      • Nice try. Everyone knows that

        America is a common term for the United States of America. Deal with it.
        • we dont have to just deal with it

          we can rename you. two options are below ;-)
        • Leaves little doubt

          with remarks like this why America produces more lawyers than engineers and why China produces more engineers than lawyers.

          It would appear that the World Atlas in use in the US is different from the one that the rest of the world uses. I'm happy to report that life in Canada is far more reflective of European standards than American standards.
          • We would like to thank you

            for keeping those standards you love north of the border, we don't need them bring down our country.
      • Name another American nation with the word "America" in the nation's name.

        If they don't have the word "America" in their name, they aren't American.
      • Name another American nation with the word "America" in the nation's name.

        If they don't have the word "America" in their name, they aren't American.