Judge dismisses Apple's request to punish Samsung's attorneys over leaked evidence

Apple and Samsung are in an on-going patent trial over their company's smartphone designs. CBS

Apple and Samsung are in an on-going patent trial over Apple claims that the other company copied their smartphone and computer tablet designs.
CBS
(CBS/CNET) SAN JOSE, Calif. - Nearly half an hour before the jury even stepped into the room, tension was in the air.

Apple and Samsung were awaiting a decision on what U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh would do about a spat between the two companies stemming from excluded evidence Samsung sent out to press. Apple had drawn concern about the issue, saying it might taint the jury.

Koh put that to rest this morning. She dismissed Apple's request to punish Samsung's attorneys and instead brought jurors out one at a time, asking if they had heard any news about the trial, and re-affirming that they could be fair and impartial.

Most jurors told Koh they hadn't heard anything about it.

One male juror, however, noted that he had seen a headline pertaining to the testimony of Apple witness, Christopher Stringer, who appeared on the stand on Tuesday. The juror said that he had seen mention of the "kitchen table" details Stringer mentioned, but that he hadn't read the story. Koh then asked him if it kept him from being impartial, which he said it did not.

Koh said that the court would collect all the articles about the trial, and provide it to jurors after the case so that they could catch up.

Apple filed a lawsuit last year against Samsung Electronics Co. alleging that Samsung's smartphones and computer tablets are illegal knockoffs of iPhone and iPad products. Apple asked for $2.5 billion in damages, which if granted would be the largest patent related verdict to date. In response, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ordered Samsung to pull its Galaxy 10.1 computer tablet from the U.S. market pending the outcome of the trial in June.

Previously, Apple lawyers argued in opening arguments thatSamsung "has copied the entire design and user experience" of Apple's iPhone and iPad. Samsung's lawyers pointed out that like many other companies, Apple had used similar technologies from other companies to satisfy consumer demands and shouldn't be pointing the finger at the South Korean company.

"Everyone is out there with that basic form factor," Samsung attorney Charles Verhoeven said. "There is nothing wrong with looking at what your competitors do and being inspired by them."

Before today's questioning began, Koh chided both sides, saying their filings had gotten out of hand -- particularly the objections.

"Some of these objections are ridiculous, they're five paragraphs long," Koh said. "If you're going to do that messy objection, you're going to do it in front of the jury, and the time clock is going to be ticking."

Koh also warned both sides that any additional "theatrics or sideshows" would not be allowed.

"I will not let any theatrics or sideshows distract us from what we're here to do, which is to fairly and timely decide this case," she said.

Koh also ruled before court got underway that Samsung can use Apple consumer research surveys in its cross-examination of Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller. Apple had sought to keep the survey private, saying it was proprietary information that competitors could see and use to shape their own products.

The case picks back up today with the testimony of Schiller, who is Apple's second witness so far.

This article originally appeared on CNET.

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    Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

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