Apple Inc. (AAPL) said a federal judge should rule its phone patents were infringed by Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) after a lawyer for the Korean manufacturer publicly released evidence the judge had excluded from trial.
Apple, in a filing yesterday with the U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, said the July 31 release was designed to convey to jurors, through the media, arguments rebutting Apple’s central allegations that Samsung copied the iPhone and iPad. The move was “bad faith litigation misconduct” meant to prejudice the jury, Apple said.
“Apple requests that the court issue sanctions granting judgment that Apple’s asserted phone-design patent claims are valid and infringed by Samsung,” according to the filing signed by lawyer William Lee.
Samsung, in a filing today, said Apple’s request should be rejected because it’s “ frivolous at every level,” and because Samsung’s release was protected free speech.
The evidence fight between the companies is being conducted without the jury, which on July 31 heard opening arguments in the case. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, seeks $2.5 billion for its claims that Samsung infringed patents covering designs and technology for mobile devices. Samsung countersued and will present claims that Apple is infringing two patents covering mobile-technology standards and three utility patents.
John Quinn, the Samsung attorney who approved the release of the information, said in his own statement to the court that is was done in response to a request from members of the media and the information was already in public court filings made by Samsung or Apple and wasn’t intended to prejudice the jury.
Shares of Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung dropped 2.9 percent to 1,263,000 won at the close of trading in Seoul, while the Kospi index fell 0.6 percent.
Koh on July 31 barred Samsung from presenting images of a smartphone that Samsung claims it was developing in 2006, the year before Apple introduced the iPhone. Koh rejected Samsung’s request to reconsider her ruling for what she said was at least the third time, standing by her earlier decision that the evidence wasn’t “timely disclosed” in Samsung’s arguments pertaining to patent infringement.
In its e-mailed statement that Apple objects to, Samsung said that Koh’s ruling means it “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.”
Apple said that if Koh doesn’t simply rule that Samsung has infringed the patent, alternatively she should tell the jury Samsung engaged in “serious misconduct,” that she has found Samsung copied the designs and features from Apple products, and preclude Samsung from any further mention of evidence regarding a pre-existing design.
In its filing today, Samsung said Apple’s request, for an “unprecedented sanction,” was “improperly filed” because it didn’t comply with court rules.
The request “can only be viewed as another plea that it be relieved from its obligation to prove its claims to a jury,” Samsung said in the filing. The request assumes that jurors, “already instructed by the court not to read media accounts, will violate the court‘s instructions and do precisely that,’’ Samsung said.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11- cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
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