Samsung Defies Judge, Releases Excluded Patent Trial Evidence

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.