Apple is in the position of having to juggle attorneys in its Australian patent infringement battle with Samsung. The company has said that three of the four attorneys involved in the case won’t be available during the month of March, but the judge in the case said that a major hearing in the case needs to take place in March in order for the matter to be decided by the end of April.
In the back and forth patent infringement battle between Apple and Samsung, both companies have sought injunctions against the other’s products. Apple successfully won a temporary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet in Australia in October (retailers have found ways to get around the ban), and in a counter claim, Samsung is seeking a ban on the import of Apple’s new iPhone 4S.
In that case, Apple sought to delay proceedings until late 2012, while Samsung argued for an earlier hearing. Samsung won that stage of the legal fight, and the hearing was scheduled for March 29th. It turns out that Apple’s two lead attorneys handling the case won’t be available, nor will one of the two junior attorneys be available, for a 75% absentee rate during March.
At the same time, Samsung’s own lead attorney won’t be around in March, but the company has insisted on the expedited schedule for the hearing. Samsung has found a sub and is ready to roll for a hearing in early March.
In the meanwhile, the judge in the case said, “I want to make sure that all issues are able to be heard and dealt with by April 29. It’s in both parties’ interest to make this case run as efficiently to the agreed pace as possible.”
Which means that Apple is also going to have to get a substitute lawyer up to speed in time for the hearing in March so that the proceedings can be complete by April.
As an aside, CRN reported the following bit of legal lingo from Apple’s lead counsel on the cas,e Stephen Burley:
In order for this to be dealt with in a measured way, there ought to be an exchange of pleadings and the matter to be brought back before [the court], for consideration as to how and what issues can be determined when.
Ultimately, the interests of justice aren’t served by there being a scramble which doesn’t lead in a clear elucidation of the issues which ultimately need to be directed towards the court having to make a decision.
If you can understand that, you may want to see if Apple has room for you on its substitution team.