Judge rejects Apple's punishment against Samsung

Judge Koh won't rule in Apple's favor just because Samsung improperly distributed excluded exhibits

The judge in Apple's patent-infringement suit against Samsung Electronics turned down Apple's request that she rule in its favor as punishment for an improper disclosure by Samsung.

Judge Lucy Koh issued her decision from the bench on Friday morning before calling the jury in for testimony by Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller and software head Scott Forstall. But while declining to impose the harsh sanction Apple had sought, she slammed both sides for a long string of objections and motions for reconsideration, some on questions that have been revisited as many as six times.

From now on, lawyers for both Apple and Samsung will have to present all their objections and motions in court, and the time they take will count against the 25 hours that each side has to present its case. That time limit has already helped to shape the case as Koh ordered the litigants to pare down their claims to fit the time allotted.

"I will not let any theatrics or any sideshow distract us from what we are here to do," Koh said.

Apple sought the ruling against Samsung as a sanction for Samsung distributing inadmissible court exhibits to some media outlets. On Friday, Koh condemned that disclosure herself, calling it "a willful and deliberate attempt to further propagate that excluded evidence."

Under questioning by Apple's lawyers, Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, recalled how he felt when he first saw a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone.

"I was pretty shocked at the appearance of the Galaxy S phone" because of the extent to which it copied Apple's designs, Schiller said. He later said he was "even more shocked" when he first saw a Samsung tablet.

Schiller said Apple had spent more than US$1 billion on advertising for the iPhone and iPad combined over the life of the products. Samsung's alleged copying makes it harder for Apple to market its products and "dilutes the way customers see Apple" because of possible confusion between the two companies' products, Schiller said.

Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS, recalled the early development of the iPhone and iPad. Developing the touchscreen interface for the iPhone was a huge challenge and a big investment, Forstall said.

"I personally dedicated years of my life to this, as did hundreds of people on this team, and it was very, very difficult," Forstall said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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Stephen Lawson

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