Anger over samsung’s prototype advance in the patent process

Samsung has got itself into trouble with the court against apple right at the start. Samsung lawyers had publicly criticized the decision to withhold a prototype samsung phone from jurors and provided media outlets with links to the images. Judge lucy koh then demanded an explanation from the samsung side. Apple even asked the court to find that its iphone design patent had been infringed as a punishment.

The images are of a prototype for the samsung F700 phone, which was unveiled in early 2007. Samsung wanted to show in this way that it had already been working on a similar design before the presentation of the iphone in january 2006. The cell phone, like the iphone, has only one button under the screen, which fills a large part of the front panel. However, it is also much smaller and, in contrast to the apple phone, has a fold-out keyboard.

The court had refused to allow samsung to use the F700 images in the trial on the grounds that they had not been submitted in time. Samsung’s chief lawyer john quinn had made an unusually loud attempt in the courtroom to persuade judge koh to change this decision. After she refused, the samsung lawyers went to the press. It was a requirement of fairness that the jury decided the case with knowledge of all the facts, it hewed there, among other things.

Apple’s lawyers used the controversy to launch a frontal attack: "samsung apparently believes it is above the law," they said in a motion filed on wednesday. The samsung side had disregarded decisions, questioned the integrity of the court and tried to influence jurors. In view of this behavior, it was appropriate to declare the infringement of the apple patent as a sanction.

The trial, which began on monday, is the high point so far in the global patent war between the two leading smartphone vendors. They accuse each other of stealing ideas. The jury trial in the important u.S. Market could bring the preliminary decision for the entire dispute.