Samsung Asks Court to Sanction Apple for Withholding Documents

Samsung vs Apple Patent Litigation

In the latest development in the companies’ ongoing patent infringement litigation, Samsung has asked the US District Court for the Northern District of California to sanction Apple for allegedly withholding thousands of pages of testimony that the iDevice maker was ordered to deliver. The request comes on the heels of expectedly unproductive settlement talks between the two electronics companies.

As discussed by FOSS Patents, the basis for Samsung’s claim that Apple failed to deliver pertinent documents stems from a December 2011 court order that, in part, granted a Samsung motion compelling Apple to give Samsung documents from “related proceedings,” other lawsuits that overlap factually with the current suit.

According to Samsung, Apple initially failed to comply with the entirety of the order and “withheld 283 depositions and more than 34,000 pages of testimony.” Apple eventually delivered the disputed pages but only months after the court’s deadline to do so had expired. 

Samsung claimed that the late delivery of the documents prejudiced the company’s legal position and, as a result, the Korean firm won an April 2012 motion ordering Apple to provide “up to five additional depositions, for a total time not to exceed ten hours.” 

Apple has delayed complying with the April order, however, as the company seeks to clarify its scope as it relates to International Trade Commission protective orders. Because the court order requires Apple to divulge information relating to other lawsuits and legal action, including previous and pending disputes in the ITC, Apple is concerned that it will be required to breach ITC rules in order to comply.  

The company is also seeking to ensure that the scope of any additional depositions it provides to Samsung will be limited to those “reasonably necessary to mitigate the prejudiced caused by Apple’s late production of transcripts pursuant to the Order.”

Initial examination of Apple’s ITC filings show that it has thus far filed motions in multiple relevant ITC investigations in order to comply with the court’s order, showing that, on the face of the matter, Apple seems to be acting in a good faith effort to comply. However, as FOSS Patents notes, Apple’s public ITC filings could easily be an effort to hide privately uncooperative behavior.

With the motions now filed, the parties await a court decision. Outcomes include the court sanctioning Apple — unlikely considering Apple’s apparent good faith effort to comply — or providing the clarification on the order that Apple has requested, avoiding further delay and, most likely, sanctions. 

Samsung itself was sanctioned by the court in early May for its own failure to produce court-ordered information. The company has also been accused by Apple of multiple bad faith actions relating to the production and alleged destruction of evidence.