Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) will not be required to publicly release the profit details in connection with a patent lawsuit between them. That’s according to a ruling handed down by a federal appeals court on Friday.

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The ruling reverses the decision from a lower court which did require that they release certain parts of documents which listed sales and profit information.

Media organizations target Apple, Samsung

That original decision was handed down in March. A coalition of media organizations let by Reuters were attempting to get Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) to be required to disclose the financial documents.

The case was in connection with documents submitted by the two companies which included financial information which the judge used to calculate the damages due in the patent infringement case. The financial information was redacted from those documents, and Reuters filed legal motions to unseal the financial information. The judge in the original case ruled against Samsung and Apple, requiring them to disclose the information, but the two companies filed an appeal in an attempt to keep from being required to disclose the information.

A small victory for media organizations

Dan Levine of Reuters reports that First Amendment Coalition Executive Director Peter Scheer said the ruling isn’t a total loss for the advocacy group, although he did say he was disappointed buy it. He said the best thing about the ruling is that it does not allow companies to keep certain information secret by simply referring to it as a trade secret. Judges must examine requests for secrecy to determine if they do fall into the category of trade secrets.

According to Scheer, cases which are relatively similar to this patent case between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) will be much more transparent than they would have been in the past.