Samsung Defies Judge, Releases Excluded Patent Trial Evidence

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Apple and Samsung’s mobile device patent infringement trial has barely begun and Samsung has already found itself dealing with an angry Judge after going against her ruling and releasing evidence to the public that she excluded from the case.

Samsung’s legal team had hoped to present evidence it claimed would prove Apple’s iPhone was inspired by Sony smartphone designs, but Judge Lucy Koh excluded the evidence after saying it had already been reviewed and denied the request several times, according to Forbes.

Samsung released excluded evidence to the media. Judge Koh ins't happy.Samsung released excluded evidence to the media. Judge Koh isn’t happy.

John Quinn from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the legal firm representing Sony in court, started off the first day of the trial by begging Judge Koh to reverse her ruling and allow the evidence. When she refused again, Mr. Quinn responded by saying, “What’s the point of having a trial? They want to create a completely false impression that we came up with this design after January 2007.”

Mr. Quinn’s outburst clearly tested Judge Koh’s patience and eliciting a warning that he was pushing the issue too far. “Don’t make me sanction you,” Judge Koh said. “I want you to sit down, please.”

Within a couple hours of her ruling, however, Samsung’s PR department sent journalists two PowerPoint presentations. As part of the release, Samsung stated,

The Judge’s exclusion of evidence on independent creation meant that even though Apple was allowed to inaccurately argue to the jury that the F700 was an iPhone copy, Samsung was not allowed to tell the jury the full story and show the pre-iPhone design for that and other phones that were in development at Samsung in 2006, before the iPhone. The excluded evidence would have established beyond doubt that Samsung did not copy the iPhone design. Fundamental fairness requires that the jury decide the case based on all the evidence.

Judge Koh wasn’t amused by Samsung’s move. She demanded to know who wrote the press release, who on Samsung’s legal team approved the release, and what role Mr. Quinn played in the decision.

Apple’s legal team didn’t seem happy about Samsung’s release, either. Harold McElhinny, one of the attorneys representing Apple, said the release was an intentional move on Samsung’s part to “pollute the jury,” and said it was the most blatant example of contempt of court he had ever seen.

Apple and Samsung have been fighting in courtrooms around the world over patent infringement complaints for over a year. Both companies claim the other is using mobile device patents without proper licensing, and Apple has also accused Samsung of blatantly copying the iPad’s look and feel.

The back-and-forth leading up to the trial saw Apple successfully blocking Samsung from using quotes from Walter Issacson’s official biography of Steve Jobs where the former Apple CEO said he would go “thermonuclear” to destroy Google’s Android operating system. Samsung, however, failed to get Judge Koh to agree to block Apple from using photos of Mr. Jobs during opening arguments.

Apple is hoping to convince the jury that Samsung is flagrantly copying its ideas with images that show smartphone designs before and after the launch of the iPhone. The differences in Samsung’s designs are stark, and may go a long way in defending Apple’s case.

The iPhone and iPad maker is claiming Samsung owes US$2.5 billion for patent infringement, while Samsung claims Apple owes 2.4 percent of all iPhone sales for using its patents without proper licensing.

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Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

If it’s contempt of court and polluting the jury, then let’s see the judge issue sanctions or declare a mistrial. She won’t, because it is not. In reality, it’s a giant f-you move that goes right up to the line and doesn’t cross it. They are daring Judge Koh to overstep, and she won’t because it will be a bigger embarrassment to her.

At any rate, the public most certainly has a right to know both sides of the story, whether those sides constitute admissible evidence or not. This isn’t privileged 3rd party information.

Jonathan No

What would SONY be thinking this morning about Samsung’s claim that Apple copied Sony’s design?

Would Samsung buy Sony to sue Apple? Would payoff be greater than losing the trial?

Would Google buy Sony to sue Apple?

Would Apple buy Sony to bury the evidence?

vasic

Those slides are very weak and they don’t really support Samsung all that much. The first part (related to Sony) claim that Apple designers were tasked to design a SONY-styled device. In other words, “If SONY were to design a touch-screen phone, what would it look like?” Anyone with a brain can see that this is NOT copying. It is actually a design exercise, a mental masturbation, if you will, of trying to think, based on previous products, how would SONY designers create a device. There is no such SONY product. There never was. SONY multi-touch smartphones came much later. This was a fun creative brain tease for Apple designers.

The second part was essentially a series of images purportedly showing Samsung phone designs and prototypes, from early to mid- 2000s. None of these ever saw production. They are essentially trying to say that Samsung too had design ideas about a touch-screen smartphone, and much before iPhone came out. Unfortunately, anyone looking at those prototypes can clearly distinguish them from an iPhone, unlike the famous image of a Galaxy phone, complete with the home screen full of colourful rectangular icons.

Even if this evidence were submitted on time, and allowed by the judge, it wouldn’t have helped Samsuing much, if any.

dmw

Wait a second here.  The judge—who by all accounts is very competent—excluded it from the trial for a reason. We aren’t given the reasoning in this article but there was, and is, a basis for it in law, whether you or an appeals court eventually agrees with that reasoning or not.  That issue was already ruled on repeatedly by this judge and as I recall was appealed interlocutorily and the exclusion was upheld by an appellate court.  So to say that the public should hear both sides is really saying to heck with the question of its relevance, accuracy, origin, or any other weaknesses, this is all about swaying the public, not trying the case.  Can you blame the judge for being a bit aggravated?  And by the way, sanctioning a lawyer will almost never get the result of the case reversed.  That isn’t the same question at all.

Lee Dronick

I can visualize Steve telling them to mock up a phone that Sony would design. After he reviewed the device he told them to make the iPhone its opposite.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@dmw: Judge Koh has not issued a gag order on the lawyers or the sides presenting information to the public, other than privileged third party information, and there has been a skirmish on that front between IBM and Reuters. Samsung did not defy the judge’s orders or violate any laws by putting forth an excluded exhibit for the public. What Samsung did was gratuitously and deliberately commit a “party foul”, and Judge Koh has no option to sanction them that would not bring the impartiality of her court into question.

If you’re looking at this court case as Apple wanting $2.5B and Samsung wanting 2.4%, you’re looking at it all wrong. It is merely a proxy for a bigger battle. Pretty much the rest of the phone industry recognizes that there is a lot of sharing of ideas, designs, protocols, and directions that goes on because it is unavoidable in products so complex. There are unwritten rules that keep the peace, and legal wrangling is a very last resort, usually kept in proportion. Now we have Apple going thermonuclear while it engages in the same infringement of which it accuses the “copiers”. From Samsung’s perspective, this trial is about containing the Apple threat, not denying Apple its damages or winning its own.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why astute, long-time Apple fans draw no comparisons to Apple v. Microsoft from two decades ago. It’s pretty much the same argument that Apple lost then, this time with patents instead of copyright trying to prop up “ownership” of ideas themselves, rather than specific expression or implementation. It will fail this time as well, as it should, because it is terrible, terrible public policy to grant people or companies state-enforced monopolies on general ideas and concepts. It’s not even in your interest as an Apple fan to let Apple have such state-backed control of ideas. It befuddles me how little historical perspective ever enters these analyses or discussions.

daemon

I don’t understand why Jeff didn’t bother to find out why, but Judge Koh’s reason for denying the evidence is because it was presented “too late” in the discovery process… I understand why they deny evidence after discovery, but why deny it during?

jfbiii

Now we have Apple going thermonuclear while it engages in the same infringement of which it accuses the ?copiers?.

No, not at all. You shouldn’t keep deliberately misconstruing the two sides. The difference is not at all obtuse.

It’s not an idea or a concept that Samsung copied. That was Android. Samsung copied PRODUCTS.

Mars

What they’re claiming as evidence is ridiculous anyway. An ex-Sony designer who became an Apple designer was asked to render a design that he thinks is “Sony-like”. So he comes up with a design that’s pretty good ans so some elements were used in designing the iPhone 4. The design he rendered was something he made as an Apple designer. Not something that actually came from any Sony designs. And Samsung is claiming that this example gives them the right to copy the iPhone design???

What they’re doing is trying to win the PR battle because they know they will lose and claim they did not get a fair trial. And of course Android fanboys will lap it up. This has nothing to do with Android anyway. Just look at the first Galaxy S. They copied every detail of the 3GS and just placed their logo on it.

domsin

It will fail this time as well, as it should, because it is terrible, terrible public policy to grant people or companies state-enforced monopolies on general ideas and concepts. It?s not even in your interest as an Apple fan to let Apple have such state-backed control of ideas. It befuddles me how little historical perspective ever enters these analyses or discussions.

Brad, you may feel that its terrible public policy but the fact is that is why we have patent law.  This trial is not about public policy or why we have patent law.  Its about whether specific patents issued to Apple were infringed.

James

Ok, so here we go. The judge is Clearly biased towards Apple. Also, the fact that she got mad that the evidence was leaked is absolutely indicative that she thought it would sway the case, which she obviously wants to go Apple’s way. That’s why she ruled against it being shown to the jury. This woman made money on Apple’s back and represented Apple along with others at their IPO. The fact that She is the person responsible for overseeing a trial having Anything to do with Apple is a clear conflict of interest, and a complete miscarriage of justice.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Mars, you ignore half of what Samsung presented to supporters. The other half is a chart showing evolution of the complete Samsung phone product line. This chart counter’s Apple’s (and the typical Apple fan) claim that when the iPhone came out, Samsung just copied it. Samsung’s chart shows a wider context, where Samsung has multiple phones with varying form factors, capabilities, and price points. Apple did not have the first rectangular phone with a screen that dominated the front surface area. Apple also didn’t have the first such phone with a grid of icons.

Mars, you also miss the whole point of the “Sony” mock-up from Samsung’s point of view. It is to show that even Apple would consider what competitors were doing or might do, would borrow the best, and would spin it their own way. That’s what actual innovation looks like, even at Apple. Regardless of what happens in this case, it is important for the public to understand that that is actually how innovation works, contrary to the Apple narrative where they invent everything and their enemies slavishly copy.

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