A federal appeals court has allowed the New York Times and other media outlets to argue against sealing documents in the “patent trial of the century” between Apple and Samsung that took place last summer.
In a short order issued on Thursday, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted the media groups fifteen minutes to participate in a hearing scheduled for March 26. The groups also include Bloomberg, the Washington Post, Dow Jones and the First Amendment Coalition.
At the hearing, the tech companies will ask the Federal Circuit to overrule a lower court’s order that granted the media companies’ initial request to unseal various filings in the patent dispute. The documents are significant because they are likely to disclose sales and revenue figures that Apple and Samsung would prefer to keep secret while they hash out damages figures related to a massive $1 billion jury verdict.
Although court filings are public, companies sometimes ask to file confidential information under seal. In recent years, however, Apple has asked to seal documents on a nearly routine basis, which led the Reuters news agency to mount a successful court challenge this summer.
The controversy over the sealed documents has led other news agencies to take an interest in the issue. The media outlets’ participation at the upcoming hearing is likely to draw more attention to the Apple-Samsung documents, an unwelcome development for the companies.
This week’s order is below. Here’s the full list of media outlets who signed the application to attend the hearing: the New York Times, Bloomberg, the Washington Post, Gannett Co., Dow Jones, the First Amendment Coalition, Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the American Society of News Editors. The filing was first spotted by Reuters.