Apple Inc. said confidential material it provided to the U.S. Justice Department for the government’s antitrust probe of Google should not be shared with the search giant’s in-house lawyers because they’re “competitively sensitive.”
In a filing Friday in federal court in Washington, Apple said it gave the Justice Department “competitively sensitive material” about its negotiations with Alphabet Inc.’s Google and that allowing lawyers inside Google to see the information would result in “material harm” to Apple.
Concerns about such disclosures have emerged since the government sued Google for allegedly abusing its power to thwart competition. The Justice Department has proposed allowing companies that provided information for its case to designate their most sensitive documents as “highly confidential,” which would prevent access to Google’s in-house lawyers.
The Justice Department argued that giving the search giant access to the confidential information would give Google even more power in the market than it already has.
Apple said in the filing it doesn’t oppose Google’s outside lawyers seeing the material but disclosure to Google’s in-house lawyers “would directly implicate future business dealings between Apple and Google, provide Google with a substantial advantage over Apple in negotiations, and potentially disadvantage competitor search engines that negotiate with Apple.”