updated 07:16 pm EDT, Thu August 9, 2012
Lawyer co-filed counter-motion to evidence spoilation ruling
Potential missteps by Samsung's legal team in the contentious Apple versus Samsung mobile device patent trial continue to make headlines aside from the issues of the trial itself. Samsung lawyer and Fox News commentator Susan Estrich may be in violation of Judge Lucy Koh's order that all the trial lawyers in the case must have made appearances in the case, and be able to practice law in the United States District for the Northern District of California. According to records, Mrs. Estrich may not be admitted to the federal district's bar.
Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal gave Samsung until 5PM PST on Thursday to file proof that Estrich is allowed to practice law in the Northern District. Estrich is a law professor at the University of Southern California Law School and licensed to practice, but may not have qualified in the Northern District of California. She also has not made an appearance at the trial, in violation of the court's order. Grewal notes that admission to the federal bar for the district in which the trial is being held may not be "particularly onerous for one licensed to practice law in the State of California" but also confirms that the requirement is "no mere formality."
Samsung is under an "evidence spoilation" jury notification order from inadequate e-mail retention after Samsung was aware that litigation was imminent. Samsung's custom e-mail solution automatically deletes emails from the server after two weeks, leaving a potential evidentiary hole in the record from the deletions. Estrich co-filed a "me too" adverse inference email counter-motion against Apple, on the grounds that there was no formal order to retain emails, despite Apple not having an auto-delete system for company communications. Barring Grewal's theory of a possibility that the court records are in error, Estrich not being allowed to practice could hand Apple a victory purely on procedural grounds.
The trial's publicity has spread to the mainstream, even becoming the object of a video segment on Conan O'Brien's late-night talk show. The parody, aired on Tuesday, showed Samsung denying the charge of emulating Apple while showing side-by-side pictures of nearly identical Samsung and Apple products, a line of Samsung home appliances that incorporated Macs and iPods, such as a "Mac-rowave" oven, and a fake spokesman saying Samsung was inspired by its founder "Stefan Jobes."