Beak explodes at Samsung's evidence leak in Apple patent spat

Jury nobbling fears over banned slides


Samsung has enraged the US judge overseeing its patent battle with Apple by leaking to reporters evidence she had previously banned from court.

The South Korean electronics monster is hoping to persuade a jury that it did not rip off Apple's designs for its own smartphones. It kicked off the first day of arguments in the trial by trying once more to put forward as evidence its F700 phone design, which predates the iPhone, as well as internal emails alleging Apple was pursuing a Sony-style design for its iOS smartmobe.

Samsung has already tried to get the paperwork filed as formal evidence a number of times, but it produced the documents too late in the discovery process so Judge Lucy Koh has excluded them from the trial.

Samsung's top legal eagle John Quinn made another attempt in court yesterday when the F700 appeared on one of Apple's slides.

"In 36 years, I've never begged the court. I'm begging the court now," he said, according to reporters in the courtroom. "What's the point in having a trial?"

But Judge Koh was having none of it, so Samsung took matters into its own hands, releasing the slides it wanted to use in court along with a statement to selected media outlets.

"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 firm said.

"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."

Punting the evidence to the press seems like a blatant attempt by Samsung to win over the court of public opinion, or at least set up grounds for an appeal if Apple win the case. The iPhone-making rival instead accused Samsung of trying to nobble the jury.

The fruity firm's lawyer Harold McElhinny told Judge Koh at the end of the day that Samsung had sent the slides to the press: "This is an intentional attempt to pollute this jury. I have just never seen anything like this."

Beak blows her top

Judge Koh was, in the words of The Verge's court reporter, "livid" at Samsung.

"I want to know who drafted the press release, who authorised it, who released it and I want a declaration from Mr Quinn [on] what his role was," she said, giving Samsung until 9.00 PDT (17.00 BST) on Wednesday to answer her.

The day's fireworks surrounded opening statements for the two firms in the case, each tech titan sticking to well worn paths of allegations and denials of copying.

Apple's McElhinny relied on slides showing Samsung phones from 2006 and then ones from 2010, saying that the key question for the jury was how the South Korean firm's engineers leaped from one to the other.

Another of Samsung's attorneys, Charles Verhoeven, made an opening statement, with the basic argument that Apple's patents are invalid because iPhone-sized products have been knocking around for ages.

Samsung may have put the judge's back up, but it's the jury it has to convince over the next four weeks or so as it tries to get bans on the Galaxy Nexus and Tab 10.1 permanently lifted and avoid forking over billions of dollars to Apple. ®


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