Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Amendment group to fight to unseal documents in Apple-Samsung case

The San Rafael-based First Amendment Coalition on Tuesday entered into the Apple v. Samsung patent infringement lawsuit in order to advocate for public disclosure of confidential financial records that Apple and Samsung filed in court under seal. (Here's a link to the coalition's announcement.)

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose ruled Aug. 9 in favor of a request by Reuters to unseal most of the records in the case.

But when Apple and Samsung said they would appeal her decision, Reuters said it wouldn't fight the appeal, meaning the records would stay secret.

 Now the First Amendment Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to free speech and open-government, filed a motion to intervene in the appeal on Tuesday.

Apple and Samsung, although disagreeing on just about everything else in this case in which Apple won a $1 billion jury verdict, are in full accord about wanting to maintain total secrecy for their respective financial records, according to the First Amendment Coalition.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would imagine that Reuters pulled out because it would have been too costly to pursue the litigation. I hope the First Amendment Coalition is prepared for this battle, which could be epic.

Anonymous said...

Our right to open court records actually stems from the Sixth Amendment. Yes, a free press is apart of the First Amendment, but a public trial is guaranteed by the Sixth.

Peter Scheer said...

You're correct. The public trial right derives from both the 6th Amdt and the 1st Amdt. But the 6th Amdt right is generally understood to be a right of criminal defendants, not the public. (And often judicial transparency is NOT in a defendant's interest). The 1st Amdt public trial right, however, protects the right of the public to have access to an open judicial proceeding (in both criminal and civil cases).--Peter Scheer