The Apple vs. Samsung trial was always destined to be a circus, but Samsung's already causing trouble on the first day of testimony: Judge Lucy Koh is furious that the company sent the press rejected evidence after the court overruled repeated attempts to introduce it at trial.
Samsung has been desperate to tell the jury about its F700 phone — which was in development months before the January 2007 introduction of the iPhone — and internal Apple emails that show the company pursuing a "Sony-style" design for the phone. All of this information has been public for days, but Samsung's motions to include it at trial have been denied because the company produced it too late in the discovery process. (For what it's worth, Apple has vociferously denied that the iPhone was inspired by Sony, claiming the mockup was just a fun design exercise based on an existing idea.)
"Don't make me sanction you. Please."
Samsung has already appealed the rulings denying the evidence, but that didn't stop the company's lawyers from trying again today after Apple briefly showed the F700 on a slide during its opening statements. Claiming that Apple had "opened the door" to discussion of the F700, Samsung asked the court to reconsider. That didn't go so well with Judge Koh, who noted that "Samsung has filed like 10 motions for reconsideration," and asked Samsung lead attorney John Quinn to sit back down. At one point in the exchange Quinn told Koh that he was "begging the court," and desperately asked "what's the point in having a trial?" — but Koh simply wasn't buying it. "Don't make me sanction you," she said. "Please."
"I want to know who authorized it."
That woud have been the end of it — except Samsung immediately emailed its rejected slides regarding F700 development and the "Sony-style" prototype to the press with a statement saying "The excluded evidence would have established beyond doubt that Samsung did not copy the iPhone design." All Things D and several other outlets ran the slides and the statement, giving new public life to rejected evidence — and eventually Judge Koh found out.
In the words of Verge courtroom reporter Bryan Bishop, Koh was "livid" when she found out about the All Things D story and press release, and demanded to know if Quinn was involved. "I want Mr. Quinn's declaration as to what his role was," said Koh. "I want to know who authorized it." The trial eventually moved on, but Samsung's little gambit may have cost it one more ounce of goodwill from a judge who's clearly unhappy with both sides for failing to settle. Of course, with Samsung's repeated protestations entered into the court record, there's always the chance that the company's team is setting the stage for an appeal should Apple emerge victorious — but we'll have to see how the rest of the trial plays out first.
Matt Macari contributed to this report.