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Samsung defends decision to leak evidence to media [U]

updated 03:25 pm EDT, Wed August 1, 2012

Response to judge's order for explanation

[Updated with Apple's response] A lawyer acting on behalf of Samsung has defended the company's decision to seed evidence banned in court to the media. John Quinn, a managing partner of the lawfirm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, insists that the move was "lawful" and "ethical" in a new filing, submitted in response to federal Judge Lucy Koh's request for an explanation, which was in turn prompted by a complaint from an Apple lawyer. The evidence was emailed to meet requests from the media, according to Quinn.

"Far from violating any order, Samsung's transmission to the public of public information disclosed in pretrial filings is entirely consistent with this Court's statements" that the "workings of litigation must be open to public view," he writes. "Samsung's brief statement and transmission of public materials in response to press inquiries was not motivated by or designed to influence jurors."

The evidence in question suggests that the iPhone may have been inspired by Sony products, rather than come about as a radically new design, as Apple argues. In its recent opening statements Samsung pointed out that iPhone-like devices were produced by other companies prior to the iPhone as well, such as LG, which put out the Prada touchscreen phone in 2006. Apple maintains that Samsung designs took a radical left turn after the iPhone, directly copying some ideas.

[Update] Apple has now filed a reply to Samsung's explanation of why it "leaked" barred evidence to the press, telling Judge Koh it found Samsung's letter "unsatisfactory." Apple lawyer William Lee said that the explanation, written by senior Samsung attorney John Quinn, "does not address two of the Court's questions: who drafted the statement, and who released it," and added that "Samsung's multiple references to the jury in its statement make plain its intent" to have jurors in the case learn about the excluded evidence through news reports and online coverage.

As a result, Apple now says it will file an "emergency" motion for sanctions against Samsung as well as "other relief that may be appropriate." The company is likely to find a friendly ear in Judge Koh, who was visibly upset when she learned of the release -- which appears to defy court orders that the evidence be barred. Samsung's contention is that a 2006 prototype -- one of dozens done for the original iPhone -- has documentation showing it was inspired by Sony's design ethos.

In a rebuttal, Apple produced a prototype from a year earlier that was bereft of Sony influence that clearly showed the company had already conceptualized the iPhone to a mature state, and that the Sony-inspired design was just a "fun" side project for comparative purposes. The judge decided that the older prototype proves Apple had no intent to copy other designs, and ruled the Sony-inspired drawings and a deposition from the former designer who created them as inadmissable.

Despite this, Samsung has seized on the so-called "Jony" design (meant to be a play on words between Sony and Apple designer Sir Jonathan Ive) and has (in the words of Quinn) "begged" the court to reconsider allowing it into evidence. Koh has expressed exasperation with Samsung's repeated requests, having ruled on the matter three times already, and threatened to censure Quinn if he did not contain his pleading with the judge.

Samsung's dependence on trying to prove that "copying is okay if others do it" as a defense has been seen by some observers as a fatal flaw. Apple's ability to dismiss the inference by producing earlier prototypes suggests that the evidence would have been discredited in court equally easily had it been admitted. Samsung made a point of not mentioning the exculpatory 2005 Apple designs in the material it "leaked" to the press.

Depending on the perceived amount of damage done, Judge Koh could find Quinn in contempt of court -- particularly if he admits to being the author or authorizer of the leak. The court could hand down sanctions, fines and even jail time for the attorney, and the stunt could backfire badly on Samsung.

Apple's counsel called the infraction "the most blatant example of contempt of court I've ever seen" and said it was a clear attempt to "pollute" the jury by making them think Apple and Judge Koh were hiding (incomplete) evidence. It called for a contempt citation even before its formal reply to Samsung's explanation was issued.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. fractaledge

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-07-10

    And so, a new hater legend is born.
    I wonder how many Android-toting zealots I will meet in the next few weeks trying to prove to me that "Apple stole iPhone from Sony" because "there is all that evidence they tried to suppress", and that is usually proof enough for them.
    Samsung's lawyers know there is an army of haters out there, including some very loud ones in the media, who will turn this into yet another "fact" in their belief system. And the average person who is either not equipped to make an informed decision or just doesn't care - they will just believe what they read.

  1. apostle

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-16-08

    Perhaps this is an intentional attempt by Samsung to have their lawyer John Quinn removed from the case. Samsung could then say they need another 90 days to hire another lawyer and bring that lawyer up to speed. A stall tactic.

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Originally Posted by fractaledgeView Post

    And so, a new hater legend is born.
    I wonder how many Android-toting zealots I will meet in the next few weeks trying to prove to me that "Apple stole iPhone from Sony" because "there is all that evidence they tried to suppress", and that is usually proof enough for them.



    Sadly true. I remember how long it took to dispel the "Microsoft bought Apple in 1997" nonsense, and we're STILL busy with the "Apple stole from Xerox PARC" and "Al Gore invented the internet" nonsense. Haters just wanna hate, don't get facts all up in their grille they can't deal with it.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    taint the jury? Seriously? That would require a juror to actually read news, and not just news, but tech news. Yeah, I'm sure I would have seen this just going to CNN or something...

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    Originally Posted by fractaledgeView Post

    Samsung's lawyers know there is an army of haters out there, including some very loud ones in the media, who will turn this into yet another "fact" in their belief system. And the average person who is either not equipped to make an informed decision or just doesn't care - they will just believe what they read.



    Yeah, because we know there's no army of Android haters who'll believe whatever they read in the pro-apple press. Nope. Nothing of the sort. The only biased haters are on the Android side!

    Just like with politics. The right is all fair-and-balanced and love all around them, and the left is a bunch of socialist biased liberals out to destroy anyone in their way!

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by testudoView Post

    taint the jury? Seriously? That would require a juror to actually read news, and not just news, but tech news. Yeah, I'm sure I would have seen this just going to CNN or something...


    Yeah, because none of the jurors is gonna, actually, you know, start taking an interest in the subject matter he is expected to decide upon.

  1. fractaledge

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-07-10

    Originally Posted by testudoView Post


    Yeah, because we know there's no army of Android haters who'll believe whatever they read in the pro-apple press. Nope. Nothing of the sort. The only biased haters are on the Android side!
    Just like with politics. The right is all fair-and-balanced and love all around them, and the left is a bunch of socialist biased liberals out to destroy anyone in their way!



    Yes, there is. From personal experience this army is considerably smaller (maybe because I do not label every Apple used a fanboy or every Android user a Fandroid), but Apple fanboys can be just as irrational, self-righteous and annoying as Fandroids.

    But you don't see Apple trying to use them as a legal defence strategy.

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