Judge denies Apple's request to talk about how it uses patents
Apple on Thursday asked the judge to allow it to present evidence refuting Samsung comments that Apple doesn't use the patents it's suing over.
SAN JOSE, Calif.--Judge Lucy Koh late Thursday denied Apple's request to talk about how it uses several of the patents at issue in an infringement suit against Samsung.
Apple filed a motion Thursday asking a court here to let it present previously banned evidence and testimony. At issue is whether Apple itself uses the patents it has accused Samsung of copying. Samsung's attorneys, during their opening arguments Tuesday, said Apple doesn't use them. But Apple says it does, and that it should be able to demonstrate that to the jury.
Koh disagreed with Apple's argument, however. In a ruling late Thursday, Koh denied Apple's request to show how it uses the '414, '172, and '959 patents. She also ordered both parties to file briefs about what evidence exists in the record as to whether Apple in the past practiced certain claims of its three patents.
The motion is the latest example of the legal wrangling that has surrounded the long-running patent infringement suit. Neither company wants to risk giving its rival any sort of advantage that could sway the jury. There are likely to be similar actions in the coming weeks as the trial progresses.
Almost two years after Apple and Samsung faced off in a messy patent dispute, the smartphone and tablet rivals have returned to the same San Jose, Calif., courtroom to argue once again over patents before federal Judge Lucy Koh. Apple is arguing that Samsung infringed on five of its patents for the iPhone, its biggest moneymaker, and that Apple is due $2 billion for that infringement. Samsung wants about $7 million from Apple for infringing two of its software patents.
While the companies are asking for damages, the case is about more than money. What's really at stake is the market for mobile devices. Apple now gets two-thirds of it sales from the iPhone and iPad, South Korea-based Samsung is the world's largest maker of smartphones, and both want to keep dominating the market. So far, Apple is ahead when it comes to litigation in the US. Samsung has been ordered to pay the company about $930 million in damages.
In the case, Apple and Samsung have accused each other of copying features used in their popular smartphones and tablets, and the jury will have to decide who actually infringed and how much money is due. This trial involves different patents and newer devices than the ones disputed at trial in August 2012 and in a damages retrial in November 2013. For instance, the new trial involves the iPhone 5, released in September 2012, and Samsung's Galaxy S3, which also debuted in 2012.
The latest trial kicked off Monday with jury selection. Tuesday featured opening arguments and testimony by Phil Schiller, Apple's head of marketing. Court will resume Friday with Schiller again taking the stand.
There are seven patents at issue in the latest case -- five held by Apple and two by Samsung. Apple has accused Samsung of infringing US patents Nos. 5,946,647; 6,847,959; 7,761,414; 8,046,721; and 8,074,172. All relate to software features, such as "quick links" for '647, universal search for '959, background syncing for '414, slide-to-unlock for '721, and automatic word correction for '172. Overall, Apple argues that the patents enable ease of use and make a user interface more engaging.
Samsung, meanwhile, has accused Apple of infringing US patents Nos. 6,226,449 and 5,579,239. The '449 patent, which Samsung purchased from Hitachi, involves camera and folder organization functionality. The '239 patent, which Samsung also acquired, covers video transmission functionality and could have implications for Apple's use of FaceTime.
The Samsung gadgets that Apple says infringe are the Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S II, Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy SII Skyrocket, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, and the Stratosphere. Samsung, meanwhile, says the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPod Touch (fifth generation) and iPod Touch (fourth generation) all infringe.
The arguments by Apple and Samsung in the latest case are expected to last until April 29 or 30, at which time the jury will deliberate. Court will be in session three days each week -- Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays -- though the jury will deliberate every business day until it has reached a verdict.