SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – Samsung Electronics cannot access Apple’s upcoming but unreleased iPhone and iPad products, a federal judge ruled late Tuesday, refusing to give the Korean tech giant the same discovery previously afforded to Apple.
“If Samsung had requested reasonable discovery along the lines discussed at the hearing on Apple’s motion for expedited discovery, the Court would have granted the request,” U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh wrote in a ruling on Samsung’s motion for expedited discovery.
Apple sued Samsung in April for trademark and trade-dress infringement. The complaint said that Samsung’s cellphones and tablets are confusingly similar to Apple’s iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone, and that the products use icons similar to those used by Apple.
By May, Koh had ordered Samsung to produce its not-yet-released products to Apple, and last week was the deadline for Samsung to hand Apple its product and packaging samples for the Galaxy S2, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Infuse 4G and 4G LTE products, referred to in court documents as “Droid Charge” products.
Koh did not see the need for Apple to reciprocate.
“Ultimately, the essence of Apple’s claims is that Samsung has copied Apple’s products,” Koh wrote. “Common sense suggests that allegations of copying are necessarily directed at Apple’s existing products, to which Samsung has access and could potentially mimic, and not at Apple’s unreleased, inaccessible, next generation products.”
Samsung had said it needed to see the new Apple goods because it anticipates that Apple will soon seek a preliminary injunction to stop Samsung from releasing what Apple thinks are copycat products.
“Rather than seeking the evidence of consumer confusion and loss of good will discussed at [Apple’s] motion hearing, Samsung asked Apple to produce samples of the most current version of the next generation iPhone and iPad, along with the retail packaging and package inserts,” the 11-page order states.
“Samsung has cited no case requiring a plaintiff in a trade dress or trademark case to produce its future products in a context similar to this one,” Koh added. “Given these circumstances, the Court agrees with Apple that it simply has not put its next generation products at issue, at least with respect to its anticipated motion for a preliminary injunction, and Samsung does not need access to these products in order to oppose such a motion.”
The judge’s May ruling said that Apple deserved the quick production of cellphone samples three months earlier than usual in the litigation process, partly because Samsung itself has promoted the products and made samples publicly available. In the same ruling, she drew the line at requiring Samsung executives to testify.
In addition to Samsung Electronics, defendants include Samsung Electronics America and Samsung Telecommunications America.
Harold McElhinny, Michael Jacobs, Jason Bartlett and Grant Kim with Morrison & Foerster represent Apple. Charles Verhoeven, Victoria Maroulis, Crik Olson and Kevin P.B. Johnson with Quinn Emanuel represent Samsung.