Samsung Lawyer Can’t Undo Apple Trial Evidence Ruling

Samsung Electronics Co.
A Samsung Electronics Co. employee discusses the company Galaxy S II LTE smartphone with a visitor at the company Galaxy Zone showroom in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph by SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Samsung Electronics Co. again lost its bid to use evidence a lawyer for the company described as “critical” to rebutting Apple Inc.’s central allegations in a patent-infringement trial in California.

Samsung was barred by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose from presenting images of a smartphone that it claims to have been developing in 2006, the year before Apple introduced the iPhone. Samsung said in a filing that the images show evidence that it was developing the next generation of mobile phones with a “simple, rounded rectangular body” before Apple’s January 2007 announcement of the iPhone.

Before jurors heard opening arguments in the trial yesterday, John B. Quinn, a Samsung lawyer, asked Koh to reconsider her July 30 decision barring the evidence.

Quinn, who said he had never begged in court in more than 30 years of practicing law, told Koh that he was “begging now.”

Koh rejected the request for what she said was at least the third time.

“We’ve done three reconsiderations on this and we have a jury waiting,” Koh told Quinn. “You’ve made your record.”

“Don’t make me sanction you, please,” Koh said when Quinn persisted with his argument. “I want you to sit down please.”

Samsung Statement

Samsung said in an e-mailed statement that Koh’s ruling means “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,” the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in the statement.

Samsung’s statement included attachments of the evidence that Koh had excluded, prompting a demand from Koh for an explanation of who drafted and issued the release. Koh told lawyers representing Samsung that she wanted a statement from Quinn explaining his role in issuing the statement.

Harold McElhinny, a lawyer for Apple, told Koh the release was “on perception an intentional attempt to pollute this jury” rising to “contempt of court.”

Earlier yesterday, Koh ruled Samsung can use some evidence from a former Apple designer to rebut the infringement allegations.

The designer, Shin Nishibori, helped create a model phone influenced by Sony Corp., and his testimony will explain how the model “changed the course of the iPhone’s development,” according to a Samsung court filing. Koh said the company could use it to demonstrate “functionality.”

$2.5 Billion Claims

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. Samsung is demanding royalties of as much as 2.4 percent for each device sold, according to a court filing.

Nishibori’s evidence would support Samsung’s “independent creation story” by proving the “design elements found in Samsung’s phones were not taken from Apple, but were known to other designers in the field,” according to the filing. The company sought to use e-mails and computer design images.

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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