Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) 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, standing by her ruling that the evidence wasn’t “timely disclosed” in Samsung’s arguments pertaining to patent infringement.
“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 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.
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.”
Quinn said in a filing today with the court that he authorized the statement, and that material included in the excluded exhibits was previously in the public court record.
“Samsung’s brief statement and transmission of public materials in response to press inquiries was not motivated by or designed to influence jurors,” Quinn said in his declaration.
Quinn said that distribution of the statement and attached exhibits is consistent with Koh’s rulings that the case should be “open to public view” -- a view demonstrated by the judge’s repeated denial of Samsung’s and Apple’s attempt to seal documents.
Apple’s accusations that the disclosure amounted to contempt of court “unfairly called my personal reputation into question and have resulted in media reports likewise falsely impugning me personally,” Quinn said in the filing.
In another ruling yesterday, Koh said Samsung can use some evidence from a former Apple designer to defend against the infringement allegations.
Evidence from the designer, Shin Nishibori, who helped create a model phone influenced by Sony Corp. (SNE:US), includes e-mail and a computer-aided image that Samsung said will support its “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 a court filing.
Koh said Samsung can use some evidence from the Apple designer to demonstrate “functionality” and “for no other purpose.”
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.
The case is Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11- cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
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