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Samsung releases rejected trial evidence, infuriates Judge Koh

August 1, 2012
samsung leaked evidence

The Apple vs Samsung roadside show… uh, trial has commenced on Monday and, as expected, every day brings fresh insight into the two rival’s strategies and inner working. Much of the evidence submitted to the court is public, which means that we are in for a real feast when it comes to information that was, until now, closely guarded.

While usually journalists have to scour through troves of legal documents to get to the juicy details, yesterday Samsung handed information directly to the media. Here’s Samsung statement, accompanied by a series of slides.

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 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.

As it turns out, the Korean’s legal team has repeatedly tried to submit as evidence the set of slides depicting several devices that share design elements with the Galaxy S (which Apple alleges that is a copy of the iPhone).

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The presiding  judge of the case, Lucy Koh, rejected Samsung’s multiple motions on the matter, because they were filed too late in the discovery stage (the stage when the two parties in a trial submit their evidence). As a result, Samsung will not be able to present the jury with the slides, which they call critical for their case. According to The Verge, Samsung lead counsel John Quinn even asked the judge “what’s the point in having a trial?” if relevant evidence is not accepted, but Koh categorically denied his plea.

The slides relate to two key arguments of Samsung’s defense – first, that Apple has actually “borrowed” the design of the iPhone from Sony, and second, that Samsung has independently evolved a design language that was similar to the iPhone’s, before Apple’s smartphone was launched.

It is understandable why Samsung wanted to bring these slides in front of the jury, and to an extent, why they decided to release them to the public, once it was clear that Judge Koh will not allow them in the trial. However, as you’d expect, the judge was not happy with Samsung’s stunt, and many speculate that the Koreans will come to regret stepping on Koh’s toes. The judge apparently summoned John Quinn to explain Samsung’s actions, although the slides have been available to the public for a few days now.

Legal experts say that Samsung might have decided to risk infuriating Judge Koh in order to have a stronger argument in the very likely possibility that the litigation war would reach an appeal. Whether it was a smart move or not, we’ll see in the coming days.