Samsung lawyers were reprimanded by Judge Lucy Koh in court on Friday for releasing excluded evidence to the media, but denied a bid by Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) to punish the Korean handset maker by ordering a verdict.
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Apple and Samsung are engaged in a massive smartphone patents dispute, the outcome of which would have major ramifications for both the companies and for the industry. Apple is seeking more than $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung for blatantly copying the designs of its iPhones and iPods for its Galaxy range of mobile devices.
On Thursday Apple complained to the court that Samsung had made public documents containing images of iPhone and other evidence that had been excluded by the court, thus breaching court protocol. The evidence made public could influence the decision of the jurors in the trial, it said.
Its lawyers appealed for sanctions against the company or to order a verdict in favour of Apple.
Koh turned down Apple's appeal but pulled up Samsung for its actions. She told Samsung's lawyers that they "were on notice that the possibility of a jury taint was real," and scolded them for "a wilful attempt to propagate that evidence they knew had been excluded."
She asked the jurors if they had noticed any press coverage or read anything about it. "I will not let any theatrics or sideshows distract us from what we are here to do, which is to fairly hear this case," said Koh.
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Meanwhile Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, who was cross-examined on Friday, said he was stunned by the extent of copying of the iPhone design by Samsung.
He said Apple had spent more than a billion dollars in marketing Apple's devices, including the iPhone and the iPad. The release of the Galaxy phones and Galaxy tablets by Samsung `shocked' him and it created problems for his marketing team.
"When someone comes up with a product that copies that design and copies (our) marketing, customers get confused about whose product is whose," said Schiller.