Judge Admonishes Samsung on Day 2 of Patent Trial

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – Both sides refined their strategies on the second day of the Apple and Samsung patent trial on Wednesday.

Samsung attorneys continued to argue that the three design patents at issue only cover components of the smartphone and not the entire phone, as it tries to whittle the potential damages from the $1.1 billion Apple is seeking.

Samsung worked on industrial designer Alan Ball, an Apple witness who repeatedly insisted the smartphones at issue need to be taken in their entirety and not divided into discrete parts.

“The entire product that does all of the things one expects out of a smartphone comes in one elegant package,” Ball said.

Ball was followed by Susan Kare, a graphic design expert, who testified that the similarities between the graphical interface of the iPhone with that of the Samsung phones warranted patent infringement.

Samsung attorney John Quinn also worked on Kare, implying that her previous service at Apple in the early 80s and her subsequent decision to follow Steve Jobs to his company Next, could impair her objectivity as an independent witness.

Quinn incurred the wrath of U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, whose courtroom demeanor can quickly wax combative when she believes lawyers are behaving deceptively.

At one point Quinn asked Kare if she thought “it was fair” that Apple would be entitled to all of Samsung’s profits from infringing phones due to similarity in graphics.

Later Koh admonished Quinn saying what he did was tantamount to jury nullification.

“You’re basically asking them if they think statute 289 is fair,” she said. “It’s very improper and I think it was done intentionally.”

The 289 statute in U.S. code stipulates that anyone found guilty of design patent infringement must relinquish all profits they derived from the infringing product.

Koh was upset because she said she felt the lawyer was asking a witness to judge the fairness of the law itself in front of a jury, hence she brought up the concept of jury nullification.

Jury nullification is when a jury finds a defendant not guilty because they do not support a government’s law. Koh said if it happened again the lawyer would be admonished in front of the jury.

Koh’s criticism of Samsung’s line of inquiry Wednesday happened with the jury out of the room.

Aside from the interlude, the trial is proceeding rapidly, with both sides hopeful witness testimony will wrap on Friday, with deliberations expected to occur in the beginning of next week.

The 8-person jury is comprised of five women and three men, although they only need six jurors for a verdict.

This became apparent at the beginning of the day when one of the female jurors disclosed she accidentally encountered information to the trial the previous night when watching an episode of American Gangster about Lisette Lee, who represented herself as a Samsung heiress. The juror also said she heard a blurb about the trial on the radio in the morning.

Neither side seemed troubled by the disclosure and the trial proceeded accordingly.

Samsung’s laser focus on breaking down the three patents was evident, not only demonstrated by their lines of inquiry with the industrial and graphic design experts, but also when they questioned two computer scientists with the University of Toronto.

Because the experts were called to testify about the two utility patents at issue, Samsung asked them about six to eight questions each before dismissing them.

Parties found guilty of infringing utility patents are only required to pay reasonable royalties, a much less punitive measure than the total profits requirement associated with design patent infringement.

 

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