Apple's suing Samsung over five patents for $2.191 billion in damages, and proof that one of those was a wanted feature hinges on a 2012 blog post — but not necessarily the comments beneath it. Apple's using the post, from TmoNews, to show that Samsung got rid of and later re-added universal search in a software update for Galaxy S3 users. And in a filing earlier today, which includes the post, something is noticeably missing: Apple's lawyers have redacted 10 comments left by users, many of which are critical of Apple, or that happen to mention other lawsuits it's involved in.
"ismell another stupid lawsuit by crapple."
"ismell another stupid lawsuit by crapple," reads one redacted comment on the post, which is still alive and readily available on the internet, notes FOSS Patents. "Who cares, we've had content searches on OS since way before the iPhone did it. Hate this lawsuit garbage," reads another.
The reason for the whitewashing is simple, Apple explains in a related filing. "[The exhibit] should be redacted to remove irrelevant, inaccurate, and prejudicial reader 'Comments' that were appended to the online article, including irrelevant and inaccurate references to this litigation and the 1846 case." That case is the one decided in 2012 (which Apple won) though overlaps with this separate, newer case. "Any conceivable probative value of reader Comments speculating about and disparaging this case (and there is none) would be substantially outweighed by the high risk of confusing, misleading, and tainting the jury," Apple continued. The company also pointed out that Samsung redacted comments in one of its own pieces of evidence, a news article that discussed the outcome of that 2012 case.
The feature under fire lets users search both the phone and the internet at the same time from a universal search box. Apple filed for a patent on the feature in in 2000, and has accused 10 Samsung devices of infringing on it. Samsung's argued that the TmoNews blog post is hearsay, whereas Apple maintains that it shows there was a demand for the feature. Nonetheless, an Apple expert witness said yesterday that the feature was the second least valuable patent in a user survey the company used to help calculate consumer demand, beat out only by a patent covering slide-to-unlock, which is also being used in this lawsuit.