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Apple, Samsung do not have to publicly disclose profits, court rules

Apple and Samsung will not have to publicly disclose the financial details both companies submitted to a U.S. court in the course of their ongoing patent litigation, according to a federal appeals panel.

The panel issued its decision on Friday, according to Reuters, reversing a lower court ruling that held that the companies would have to disclose their profit and sales information. The three-judge panel, in explaining its decision, aid the public's interest in the transparency of judicial proceedings does not extend to corporate financial information in this case.

"We recognize the importance of protecting the public's interest in judicial proceedings and of facilitating its understanding of those proceedings," the panel 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."

Apple and Samsung have been locked in patent litigation for years, and prior to last year's $1.05 billion verdict in favor of Apple both companies submitted detailed sales and profit information to the court in order to calculate damages. Reuters and the First Amendment Coalition filed motions to reveal the companies' full financial information, as the copies of their filings released to the public had that information redacted.

In October of last year, Judge Lucy Koh denied Apple's request to keep its financial particulars sealed, saying that the iPhone maker's arguments were insufficient to establish the information as "trade secrets." The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling on Friday reverses Koh's earlier decision.