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Apple vs Samsung Judge: Apple lawyers 'smoking crack,' Samsung’s trial strategy questioned

August 17, 2012

The U.S. Apple vs Samsung trial, now in its third week of proceedings, is a very interesting source of information related to the mobile ecosystem that we follow closely here at Android Authority. We’ve seen Apple and Samsung make their cases, with each party trying to prove that the other is violating its patents with various products and that any infringement claims against its own products are unfounded.

So far Apple seems to have the edge on Samsung, as the iPhone and iPad maker has been able to submit some interesting evidence that suggests its iOS products were definitely inspirational for Samsung execs, designers and engineers, although we’re far from a final verdict.

With at least one more week to go until the jury rules on the various patent claims in play in this U.S. trial, Judge Lucy Koh who’s presiding the case has made some very interesting comments regarding both parties.

Are Apple’s lawyers “smoking crack?”

In a rather hilarious verbal dispute, Judge Koh asked Apple’s counsel whether they are “smoking crack,” as Apple’s lawyers want to see more than 20 witnesses to counter Samsung’s patent claims. Why is that a problem? Well, Apple only has four hours left of its 25 hours allotted by the Judge for the trial:

“You want me to do an order on 75 pages tonight? When, unless you’re smoking crack, you know that these witnesses are not going to be called?” Koh shouted at Apple lawyers. “Who is going to call all these witnesses when you have less than four hours left?”
“Your honor, first of all, I’m not smoking crack,” said Apple lawyer Bill Lee. “We have timed it out.”
Apple lawyer Michael Jacobs also stepped forward, assuring her that they had done a time test, and could get through 20 witnesses today and tomorrow [Thursday and Friday] in its rebuttal case against Samsung. “We didn’t mean to burden the court,” he said.
“You filed 75 pages of objections!” said Koh. “What do you mean you didn’t mean to burden the court?”

Are Samsung’s lawyers smoking crack?

If you thought the opinion exchange above, as highlighted by Ars Technica was funny, you’ll also have to know that the same Judge also targeted Samsung with certain comments related to the strategy adopted by its lawyers.

Just like Apple, Samsung also had at its disposal 25 hours to make its case, but its counsel used a lot of that time to cross-examine Apple’s witnesses rather than try to bring more witnesses of its own, and that could turn out to be a pain in the behind in the following days, as Apple has the advantage when it comes to time left for trial – Samsung may not have time to counter some of Apple’s arguments in the following days.

In fact, its lawyers decided not to cross-examine some Apple witnesses yesterday, citing lack of time. CNET reports:

When the court was about to go on its afternoon break, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh warned Samsung’s lawyers that they better not try to file any paperwork saying they didn’t have enough time overall.
“Samsung made a strategic decision to use more time to cross examine,” Koh said. “I am not going to allow the parties to file something that says you were unable to file, because you made a strategic decision.”
Koh pointed out that the company had spent 14 of its allotted 25 hours cross examining Apple’s witnesses versus saving up some of that time to make its own case.
“Any inability of Samsung to present more witnesses was because of its own decisions,” she said.

Apple has four more hours to go through its witnesses list, while Samsung has just under 24 minutes to cross examine any of them, if needed – the closing arguments, scheduled for Tuesday, are not included in these numbers.