Apple-Samsung jury told not to upgrade gadgets received as evidence

System software updates could alter the appearance of some things under dispute in the trial

Jurors hearing arguments between Apple and Samsung have been warned not to accept software updates or install apps on mobile gadgets they receive while deliberating the merits of the patent-infringement case.

The case, which has been in front of the jury since the beginning of August, revolves around several questions of design - both physical design of the device and on-screen design of items like icons - so it's important that any updates to the phones and tablets don't alter their look and appearance.

"The physical devices you received are evidence in this trial," said U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh as she read instructions to the jury."You may use them in your deliberations, and may connect to the Internet through the Web browser application, but must not alter or modify the devices in any way."

Koh said jurors are not allowed to insert SIM cards into the devices, if included with the packaging, but may connect to the court's Wi-Fi network to access the Internet.

"Once connected, you must decline any software update notifications that may be presented to you. You also must not download any content, such as apps, music, photographs, or games, to the devices," said Koh.

The printed version of the jury instructions includes sample screens from Android phones showing the alerts typical when a system update is offered.

"If you see such a screen, you must decline the request to update the system. Select 'Install later' or press the 'home' or 'back' button to exit the notification screen," Koh said.

The jury is expected to hear closing arguments on Tuesday and begin its deliberations on Wednesday.

The case, number 11-01846, is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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