Apple and Samsung arguing over jury instructions

Karen Haslam
17 July, 2012
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Apple and Samsung are now disputing the jury instructions in their copyright case, which may commence in California on July 30.

The objections range from the language used when instructions are given to the way the jury might perceive the ethnicity of witnesses.

Late last week Samsung filed 700 pre-trial jury-screening questions over 40 pages. Apple, on the other hand, filed just 49 over six pages.

Samsung suggests that its alternatives to Apple’s juror instructions are “more descriptive and easier for the jurors to understand”.

One point disputed by Samsung is the way jurors will be alerted to an issue with the translation of witnesses that are not English speaking. Jurors who speak the language of the witness are requested to only take the translation into consideration, so that all jurors have the same evidence. Samsung takes issue with the language of Apple’s instruction as it refers to Korean just as a Korean witness is set to take the stand.

Apple refers to occasions where evidence is provided in another language, noting: “One such language will be Korean”, and asking that even Korean speakers on the jury should only take the translation into consideration, so that all jurors consider the same evidence.

Samsung claims that this “proposal will disrupt the trial and unnecessarily call attention to the witness’ ethnicity.” The company asks that this instruction is read earlier in the proceedings, so that it doesn’t appear to be linked to the witness.

Apple argues that regardless of Samsung’s dispute, it makes more sense to make the instruction when the first foreign speaker testifies.

Other objections call into question the descriptions of trade and patent laws. Apple isn’t happy with Samsung’s design patent summary: “[a] ‘design patent’ protects the way an article looks, but not the way it functions.” Apple says Samsung’s description is misleading because the instruction states that “[a] ‘design patent’ protects the way an article looks, but not the way it functions.” Apple says: “This instruction is misleading because design patents protect articles of manufacture that have or serve a function, so long as the overall design of the article is not “dictated by function.””

Apple also notes: “The assertion in Samsung’s instruction that “[d]esign patents cannot protect the general configuration of an article apart from the surface details” is incorrect under the law. Design patents are “inclusive of ornamental designs of all kinds including surface ornamentation as well as configuration of goods.”

“Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface ornamentation,” Apple adds.

Apple Insider has the whole filing.


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