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Samsung tells Apple: Quit your 'frivolous' whining over court doc leak

iPhone rival brands demand for trial win 'extreme'

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Apple's attempt to score an easy win over Samsung in their smartphone patent trial, thus punishing its rival for leaking court evidence, has been branded "extreme" by the South Korean giant.

Samsung had prepared slides to defend itself against allegations that it copied the iPhone design for its own products, but the court case's judge stopped the evidence from being put before the jury. Samsung decided to circulate the information anyway to reporters, leading to furious Apple lawyers demanding a judgment that the iPhone-maker was right about Samsung's alleged infringement of its phone design patents.

"Apple seeks an unprecedented sanction of outright dismissal of Samsung's defences to its design patent claims, in the guise of an alleged 'recommendation' about Samsung's release of information that was already publicly available," the South Korean electronics behemoth said indignantly.

"Apple's 'recommendation' is frivolous at every level, and can only be viewed as another plea that it be relieved from its obligation to prove its claims to a jury."

The company also said that the motion was an insult to the integrity of the jury, because it implied that members of the panel would see Samsung's barred evidence in news articles and be influenced by it - even though the court had already forbidden the good citizens from reading any coverage of the patent spat. Juries are usually told to avoid reading news of their ongoing trials in case evidence ruled inadmissible by a judge winds up in a published report.

Judge Koh has yet to decide on Apple's request for sanctions and Samsung's motion to have it denied and struck from the record.

Samsung's evidence was banned from being shown in court because the firm introduced it to proceedings too late. When Samsung decided to pass the information to news reporters, Judge Koh was livid, but approving Apple's motion is likely to just move the whole case into the appeals court.

The evidence in question featured designs for Samsung's pre-iPhone smartphones and also included emails in which Apple designers apparently toyed with a "Sony-like" prototype mobe. Samsung said keeping these slides out of court is unfair to its case, but the firm didn't bring them into the discovery phase of the case (when each party in a trial reveals their evidence) until it was too late to accept more material.

But these slides are nothing compared to other evidence Samsung has tried to use either too late or incorrectly.

You can't talk about that... or that... or that...

The electronics monster had cited the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the old TV show Tomorrow People in its attempt to stop a preliminary injunction on sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1, saying that tablet computers were depicted yonks ago in the fictional works, so Apple's fondleslab wasn't all that new.

Unfortunately, according to Judge Koh's ruling that Samsung couldn't use clips from the film and the telly programme in court, the company only cited them for "general discussion" and didn't make it clear that it would use the clips in arguments against invalidity or non-infringement.

The basic theory of evidence and discovery is that both sides have to show each other everything they've got and how they'll use it, allowing the other side to prepare arguments or explanations. Not telling Apple it would use the clips as prior art references to prove that Apple's tablets weren't revolutionary (and instead a natural progression), means the fruity firm couldn't figure out what it would say back.

Pieces of expert testimony and some different Sony stuff is also staying banned from the trial for various reasons.

Samsung won the right to tear up some bits of Apple's expert testimony, but went into the trial with two injunctions on its products and not enough snazzy visuals to help its lawyers convince the jury that the judge was wrong to ban its products.

By turning to the court of public opinion to fight its case suggests a number of tactics: although the nine men and women have been instructed not to research the case, its wide coverage makes it more likely that some on the panel will hear something about Samsung's whinges, which is what Apple argues.

But Samsung could also simply be preparing for the inevitable appeal, making its feelings known now and getting them out into the open in case a future juror or judge is listening.

There's also the small matter of customer loyalty. If Samsung has to, and is able to, pull products off the shelf, or rush out software updates, to workaround to avoid potential patent infringements, it'll have to paint Apple as the bad guy to keep its fandroids sweet. ®

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