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Steve Jobs’s “thermonuclear war” comments stricken from Apple-Samsung lawsuit


Published onJuly 19, 2012

One of the most interesting patent-based lawsuits in the mobile world is set to kick off on July 30 between Apple and Samsung – the U.S. engagement. The two giants are suing and countersuing each other in various such cases that are spread over four continents, in 10 countries. Apple has already scored a garden-variety of pre-trial victories against Samsung both in the U.S. and in other markets, with the most recent ones being obtained in the States: two ban sales on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and Galaxy Nexus smartphone, each found to be infringing Apple tech.

Samsung lost the almost immediate appeals, although it managed to stay the Galaxy Nexus injunction in a second appeal.

Now Reuters reports that the judge presiding over the case – the same judge that awarded the injunctions – has decided not to allow Steve Jobs’s famous comments about Android to be used in court, as Samsung would have wanted.

In case you’re not aware of what Apple’s late leader said about Android, here’s a quick reminder:

“Our lawsuit is saying, ‘Google you fucking ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off.”
“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.”
“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

These remarks were made by Jobs to Walter Isaacson, his official biographer, and can be found in the “Steve Jobs” biography.

Samsung wanted to be able to use these quotes as arguments that speak “to Apple’s bias, improper motives and its lack of belief in its own claims in that they are a means to an end, namely the destruction of Android.”

Whether Samsung is right or wrong to want to include these statements in the trial, at the end of the day the fact still remains that Apple is accusing the South Korean company of also copying the design of its iPhone and iPad, which aren’t really Android features.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh decided not to allow the comments, as she thought this isn’t a trial about Jobs. Her ruling is contrary to judge Richard Posner’s decision on the same matter, who allowed the same remarks in the Apple vs Google-Motorola trial – eventually the trial was dismissed with prejudice a few weeks ago.

On a totally different but related note, I will say that, no matter what you think of the comments above or Apple’s whole attitude towards patent litigation, without Steve Jobs and his intuition regarding the future of the mobile business, Android would have probably not been what it is today. Care to disagree?

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