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Judge deals Samsung procedural blows in Apple hearing

updated 12:33 am EDT, Thu July 19, 2012

Multiple issues addressed; Apple must further winnow issues

US District Court Judge Lucy Koh spend her afternoon dealing with some details of the upcoming Samsung and Apple intellectual property patent trial. In rulings that most favored Apple, Koh ruled that Steve Jobs' statements to his biographer were an "inadmissible distraction," and likewise limited discussion of Apple's Chinese manufacturing efforts to exclude any reports of human rights issues.

Samsung's original list of 192 witnesses was deemed "not realistic" and both sides were reminded that witness time was limited to 25 hours maximum per side. Koh imposed a limit of no more than 45 witnesses each. Apple and Samsung agreed to keep the jury verdict form between eight and 12 pages, down from an estimated 40-page form. Judge Koh also signalled her intention to make all exhibits from both companies public, including design and marketing documents both had asked to keep secret. She said she would seal only "some third-party source code," and said that "it appears that the parties have overdesignated confidential documents, and are seeking to seal information that is not truly sealable."

In a standout pro-Samsung decision, evidence of Samsung's questionable tax status in the US could be discussed, but Apple would be prevented from making any claims of tax avoidance.

The trial is expected to begin July 30. Initial legal barrages have led to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Nexus phone being enjoined from sales, with the Galaxy Nexus being awarded a temporary stay of the injunction. The Galaxy Nexus was temporarily removed from the Google Play online store, but returned after the stay, now boasting Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean".

Apple's suit began against Samsung last year for violation of several patents in the Korean manufacturer's Android devices, including the oft-referenced "data tapping" patent, that converts phone numbers and URLs embedded in a text to contextually be used as application-specific links. Samsung countersued in several countries, but has been seen to be trying to delay this case as much as possible, perhaps due to the number of preliminary rulings that have gone against it.

Earlier efforts to streamline the trial have been made, with the judge allowing patents dropped from this suit to be asserted at a later date, if needed. The judge declared today that Apple needed to further limit its claims against Samsung, in the interest of an expeditious trial. Apple attempted to obtain a temporary restraining order against release of the Galaxy S III similar to the ban requested on the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1, but ultimately failed.

by MacNN Staff



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