Samsung Shows Courtroom to Witnesses, Breaks Court Rules

| News

Samsung Shows Courtroom to Witnesses

Samsung has again run afoul of court rules in its patent infringement trial with Apple, this time by bringing a group of the company’s witnesses to the courtroom while it was unoccupied, according to documents reviewed by FOSS Patents. The unsupervised visit, argued by Samsung to be necessary for its foreign witnesses who were unfamiliar with American courtrooms, is the latest in a series of steps that have brought the court’s ire upon the Korean company.

Christopher Stretch, one of the many outside attorneys representing Samsung in its legal battle, admitted in a sworn declaration to bringing “five Samsung prospective witnesses, accompanied by two interpreters, and three Samsung in-house attorneys” to see the Ceremonial Courtroom, where the trial is taking place, last Thursday.

Mr. Stretch explained that “none [of them] had ever seen the inside of a United States District Courthouse before” and since he “could not take them to the courthouse while trial is in session because of the parties’ agreement that fact witnesses may not be present in court before they give testimony,” he took them to the room while court was not in session.

Unfortunately for Mr. Stretch and his guests, the room was locked when they arrived. After speaking with someone in Judge Fogel’s chambers (Judge Koh is the presiding judge for the trial), and presenting themselves as “friends” of yet another judge, Judge Breyer, the group was let into the courtroom where they spent approximately ten minutes unsupervised.

Mr. Stretch claims that he was “unaware of any prohibition against visiting the Ceremonial Courtroom while trial was not in session” and that, if he had known of such a prohibition, he would not have done it.

Both Apple and the Court are understandably concerned about Samsung’s breach of court rules, whether intentional or not. However, Mr. Stretch claims that his guests only wanted to see the courtroom and that none of them “touched any equipment or materials” nor, as far as he is aware, took any photographs.

Last Thursday’s unauthorized courtroom visit came just days after Samsung narrowly escaped court sanctions for defying Judge Koh’s orders not to release evidence that had already been excluded. After repeatedly requesting permission to introduce the evidence, which Samsung claims shows Sony had an “iPhone-like” phone in development before the public unveiling of the iPhone, Samsung’s PR department released the information to the press, drawing sharp words and threats of sanctions from Judge Koh.

Apple and Samsung are locked in a legal battle over mobile patents responsible for the iPhone and Samsung smartphones. Apple claims Samsung owes $2.5 billion for infringing the Cupertino company’s iPhone patents while Samsung argues that it is Apple who has infringed and is seeking 2.4 percent of all iPhone sales.

[Teaser graphic via Shutterstock]

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

23 Comments Leave Your Own

lawyer

How could anyone legitimately construe this to be a violation of the court’s order? No lawyer (who is reasonably honest and non-partisan) would ever say this is eitehr an ethical violation or a violation of the court’s order. The order didn’t say you can’t bring witnesses to the “courtroom”; it said they cannot be present in court. That can only properly be construed as being in the court while the trial is proceeding.

Agreed

This was obviously not against the judges order. Apple needs to be slapped once by this young judge so that they know she is in charge.

geoduck

Unfortunately for Mr. Stretch and his guests, the room was locked when they arrived. After speaking with someone in Judge Fogel?s chambers (Judge Koh is the presiding judge for the trial), and presenting themselves as ?friends? of yet another judge, Judge Breyer, the group was let into the courtroom where they spent approximately ten minutes unsupervised.

So they lied to the court staff to gain access. That alone should be sanctioned. Maybe not in this trial but it should warrant at least a letter to the bar about Mr. Stretch’s behavior. Whether or not the visit was in violation is no longer the question. This attorney has shown he is willing to lie to the court in pursuit of his case.

b9bot

Samsung is violating the rules, there the ones that need to be slapped. They’ve done it twice already.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Meh. The sanctimoniousness only makes Apple more despicable.

Intruder

Apple needs to be slapped once by this young judge so that they know she is in charge.

Ummm… Where does it say that Apple has asked the judge to do anything? It says that Apple is “concerned”, but the court is the one who asked for a sworn declaration.

I wonder myself how this is an issue, but I cannot say definitively whether or not they violated the court order, since I have not read the actual order. Have you?

Who dares

Oh dear. Samsung seem to be having a track record of annoying the court and shooting themselves in the foot.

They can’t even get their story straight

See this article
samsung’s leaked evidence was iPod influenced

nealg

Samsung could have taken these prospective witnesses into any active courtroom with unrelated cases and showed them how the american court system works. Many court rooms have very similar layouts and these prospective witnesses and interpreters could have visited a similar court room to be familiar with their prospective court room. And then why make up a story to gain access?

Maybe it is my suspicious nature because of past Samsung transgressions but I would want to know exactly who these “witnesses and interpreters” were and were they really people that Samsung was possibly going to call as witnesses. I would also want the courtroom swept for cameras and listening devices. With some of the nonsense that Samsung has pulled, would you put it past them to possibly bug the Apple attorneys’ table to try to get some advantage for the trial.

Maybe this is all off base but in this day and age of corporate espionage, I wouldn’t put it past anybody to do something nefarious.

stilep

Cameras and listening devices for what purpose?  These are not closed door secret hearings. Otherwise we wouldn’t have to look at all the crappy iPhone prototypes everyday on these blogs.  Besides anyone who would need to know real time events is probably already there.

nealg

Cameras and listening devices for what purpose?? These are not closed door secret hearings. Otherwise we wouldn?t have to look at all the crappy iPhone prototypes everyday on these blogs.? Besides anyone who would need to know real time events is probably already there.

For example, a bug planted at the Apple lawyers’ table to listen in on their private conversations in the courtroom might bring some advantages to the Samsung team.

vpndev

Meh. The sanctimoniousness only makes Apple more despicable.

Sorry Brad, I don’t see anything in this article, or the FOSS item to which it referred, that said anything about an Apple complaint, etc.

Is this just implied-sanctimoniousness?

mblaydoe

The sanctimoniousness is entirely Bosco’s, which in his eyes makes Apple “despicable”, since there is nothing in this article that implies Apple had any reaction to this particular incident.

RonMacGuy

Is this just implied-sanctimoniousness?

No, it’s just that Brad hates Apple with a passion, and his hatred taints just about anything he posts.  And, due to Apple’s financial success, market share, etc., just about the only place he is able to post anymore is on the patent infringement stuff.

Regarding Samsung’s actions, it really seems to me that they are going out of their way to piss off the judge to the point that she calls for a mistrial.  Given where they stand in all of this, their motivation would be to delay delay delay.  Even if they proceed and Samsung loses, they will appeal and appeal, taking years and years.  So, why not get a mistrial and start all over again?  Even more proof that Samsung doesn’t feel too strongly about their position.

daemon

Once upon a time court rooms were public spaces that anyone could enter and view…

RonMacGuy

Once upon a time court rooms were public spaces that anyone could enter and view?

SO not the point here, but cute.

vpndev

Once upon a time court rooms were public spaces that anyone could enter and view?

They still are, while Court is in session.

At other times they’re locked for security.

daemon

At other times they?re locked for security.

Cause the full body scanners and guards at every enterance aren’t enough security?

vpndev

Cause the full body scanners and guards at every enterance aren?t enough security?

Bingo !

RonMacGuy

Cause the full body scanners and guards at every enterance aren?t enough security?

Really?  How about tampering with evidence that’s in the courtroom?  How about reading material from Apple’s lawyers that was left in the courtroom?  You know, left there because the room is locked for security reasons?

Give me a break.

wab95

I haven’t commented much on this Samsung vs Apple saga, primarily because it’s of only marginal importance to either company, is a work in progress on establishing modern ground rules on IP protection, and is wholly irrelevant to the end user and their experience with either company’s products and services, even if It does make for interesting banter.

The one thing that I am struck by, however, being an often-times SE Asian resident, is Samsung?s response to the local legal system when that system does not act in the company’s interest. This open disrespect of the courts is something to which one grows accustomed in the region, when often tenuous if not weak political and legal systems attempt to reign in powerful interests, let alone a megapower like Samsung.

That Samsung should be so openly contemptuous of US courts on US territory could be considered business as usual for a company like Samsung except for one thing; the current weak US economy and the sometime public perception that the growth of Asian economies is happening at the expense of the US economy and its work force. That such an argument is incomplete and inaccurate makes it no less visceral nor fodder for election year demagoguery. I am struck when Stateside, how often China, notwithstanding that it is one of the US’s strongest trading partners and the economic prosperity of either nation joins them at the hip, is vilified for serial IP theft, not to mention unfair trading practices, anti-competitive behaviour and being a regional bully with minimal respect for the rule of law and human rights. Korea has only recently emerged from similar IP concerns.

I don’t see any indication that Samsung are aware that, as a Korean company playing on another’s home turf, they may be playing with fire, or that they may have little margin for error in showing contempt for American courts in their battle with an iconic American company over IP, and how little it might take to elicit a public backlash that, irrespective of the court outcome, could adversely affect Samsung?s public image and hurt their bottom line.

Samsung could do worse than to follow the politically and culturally adroit example of Toyota’s Akio Toyoda and his company’s responsiveness to US concerns and perceptions. Toyota’s continued sterling reputation and sales performance in the US market speak for themselves on how that company have managed their image in the US. Samsung, on the other hand, appear to be taking an alternative, and in my view, needlessly aggressive approach to the US court system. This seems to be an unnecessary risk, perhaps even reckless given the political climate. Hopefully for Samsung it will not prove to be a costly one. Apple need the competition.

Who dares

Great piece at


Samsung

danf

It’s hard not to feel that the American legal apparatus is contemptible and to root for Samsung in their disobedience.  The legal system is an agent of oppression and tool of powerful interests who oppose liberty.  Lawyers and judges and functionaries proudly embrace the notion that the practice of law has nothing to do with justice.  The best any American can hope is that he/she will never come in contact with any corner of this pervasive corruption.

Intruder

ALCOA must love you.

Log-in to comment