Judge Frustrated with Apple, Samsung Lawyers in Copyright Trial

NEWS ANALYSIS: With a federal court judge fervently asking the warring parties for “global peace,” the two device makers nonetheless continued their legal wrestling match over patent issues in court with no end in sight.

Copyright violation litigation, especially involving IT companies with all of their technical and semi-technical legal definitions, brand positioning and additional technobabble, always seem to take protracted amounts of time and effort just to get all the niggling details into the record.
With a federal court judge fervently asking the warring parties, Apple and Samsung, for “global peace,” the two connected device makers nonetheless continued their legal wrestling match over patent issues in court Dec. 6. And there appears to be no end in sight.
Back on Aug. 24, a federal court jury in San Jose, Calif. -- also presided over by current case Judge Lucy Koh -- decided to punish South Korea-based Samsung with a $1.05 billion damages slap for ostensibly copying Apple's products.
The court proceedings drag on, much to the dismay of federal district court Judge Koh and a number of court witnesses and reporters, who'd like to see this litigation buttoned up and put away before the holidays.

Litigation Continues, but Little News Results

No new information came out of the Dec. 6 hearing, except that Koh will review some of the jury's calculations for damages, according to a wire service report.

Hanging in the balance above all the courtroom positioning are financial damages totaling $1.05 billion -- the amount a jury awarded Apple in phase 1 of the trial last August -- and the possibility of an injunction that would halt Samsung's production of smartphones and tablets in the United States for an unspecified period of time.
“Is there some endpoint here?” an exasperated Koh asked lawyers from both parties about four hours into the hearing. When Apple attorney Harold McElhinny replied that the issue won’t be resolved until the court enforces the law, Koh then laid her head in her hands with a big sigh, according to an Associated Press report.

Apple Going Hard After Samsung
Apple is making no qualms about going hard legally after Samsung, its Android operating system and the rest of the $219 billion smartphone and tablet market. It already owns about 62 percent of tablet sales with the iPad but it is facing a receding 17 percent of the smartphone market with the iPhone. Android, with 68 percent of the world smartphone market, has a huge advantage -- one that would take several years to supersede.
Meanwhile, Apple has prepared court injunctions against Samsung against the sale of Samsung's 152 smartphones and tablets, including its popular Galaxy brand, in the United States. If these injunctions are sanctioned by the court, the repercussions of this case could become a huge market issue for Samsung. However, millions of people around the U.S. and the world who already have bought Samsung phones won't be affected.

Apple's Motivation: Increasing Android Sales

Therein lies Apple's main motivation for this case: Android is kicking iPhone's rear all over the world. Android Inc. co-founder and Google Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital Content Andy Rubin tweeted recently that more than 900,000 Android devices are activated each day.

Samsung products found by the jury to have violated Apple patents included the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Galaxy 10.1 tablets and smartphones -- specifically the Captivate, the Galaxy S line, the Fascinate and the Epic 4G. In the case of most patents, the jury ruled that Samsung's infringement of the intellectual property inside them was "willful."
One of the specific patents jurors determined Samsung had copied from Apple is called the Bounce, which is what happens to content on the screen of any iOS device when a user scrolls down to the bottom of a page, and the page sort of "bounces" to let him or her know the end has been reached. Subtle, but it is part of the whole Apple brand.
Additionally, design items such as the curves on the edges of Samsung's smartphones and tablets were also cited as being "willfully" copied from Apple's products.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...