Chalk up a victory for Samsung A federal judge has denied an October motion by Apple to sanction the electronics giant in connection to obtaining sensitive data about Apple’s 2011 patent license with Nokia.

The motions were denied by Federal Judge Lucy Koh, who also proceeded to call Samsung’s lack of information about the alleged violation “inexcusable,” according to

Meanwhile, on Wednesday,  Judge Paul Grewal ruled against imposing sanctions on Samsung, instead, decided to sanction Samsung’s attorneys, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, for violating a court order protecting the confidentiality of Apple, Inc.’s patent-licensing accord, according to Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg, the e-mail disclosure at issue, which Samsung said was accidental, came as the companies were waging their first patent-infringement dispute in federal court in San Jose over technology in smartphones. Apple won the 2012 jury trial and was ultimately awarded damages of $930 million.

Judge Grewal also explained why some further-reaching and more dramatic sanctions proposed by Apple and Nokia were not appropriate:

The vast majority of these are ludicrously overbroad, such as the suggestion that both Samsung and Quinn Emanuel should be banned from any situation in which they might make use of licensing information for the next two years. Although the evidence has shown Quinn Emanuel failed to notify the relevant parties at the relevant times, and that [Samsung in-house lawyer Daniel] Shim made use of the information, there has been insufficient evidence that this failure to notify or misuse ultimately implicated any issue in this or any other litigation or negotiation. 

Grewal’s decision can be appealed to Koh, and then to the Federal Circuit if that step is necessary, and where Apple or Nokia could attempt to win additional sanctions.  According to Macrumors, Samsung cannot appeal any part of the decision further as it was not sanctioned. The ruling comes as a second patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung is set to begin in late March.

According to Macrumors, Samsung will only have four patents claims to bring to the upcoming trial, as Judge Koh invalidated two of its patent claims last week. Both companies will also partake in a trial centered around Apple’s new call for a U.S. ban on Samsung products set for January 30.

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