Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Fireworks in Apple-Samsung Trial Over Whether Expert Had Improper Access to Intel Source Code

While the Apple-Samsung trial itself follows a fairly predictable and orderly flow, it’s often a surprise to see what issues the lawyers will bring up in the half hour before court starts.

On Tuesday, the issue at hand was whether a Samsung-hired expert, Tim Williams, was given access to Intel source code without fully disclosing his potential conflicts of interest.

Lawyers for Intel brought up the issue on Tuesday, saying that they had just learned that Williams had been given access to the code earlier this year. Under a court order, parties such as Intel are supposed to be given notice when their confidential information is shared.

Intel asked that Williams be precluded from testifying, something that from Judge Lucy Koh would be an extreme remedy at this point. However, Koh decided that she needed more details, declaring that Williams would not testify as scheduled on Tuesday, and ordering both sides to produce the relevant documents and their legal arguments.

“I want to see papers,” Koh said. “I don’t trust what any lawyer in this courtroom tells me.”

With that, the jury was brought in to hear testimony. The first new witness of the day was Clifton Forlines, a former Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab employee, who is testifying about the DiamondTouch system.

Forlines began offering up answers in rapid-fire succession, before being asked to slow down. The clearly nervous Forlines noted that it was his first time in court.

His testimony is being used to bolster Samsung’s contention that the DiamondTouch and its accompanying software represents “prior art” that should render some of Apple’s patents invalid. Samsung began laying the groundwork for this on Monday, with the testimony of another former Mitsubishi employee.

After just a few minutes, Forlines was done.

Update 9:40 am PT: After some legal wrangling away from the jury, Samsung was allowed to call expert Woodward Yang, a Harvard computer science professor, to testify whether Apple is violating Samsung’s patents.

Yang is explaining the three patents that Samsung has accused Apple of infringing. The first covers having a separate method for handling plain-text emails and those with a photo. A second patent covers being able to send a photo and return to the same place in the photo album. The third patent that Samsung alleges Apple has infringed covers a means for playing music in the background on a phone.

10:24 a.m.: Yang has methodically outlined how he believes Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad infringe on the various patents (though not all versions of all products for all three patents).

The biggest excitement is that some of the music being demoed is from Bruce Springsteen. Also, Apple’s lawyers are ready to pounce if Yang goes into some of the testimony the judge has excluded.

10:54 a.m.: Asked by the judge the status on the Intel matter, Intel’s lawyer said that the company would seek sanctions and a contempt finding against Samsung but is no longer looking to keep him off the witness stand.

“I was never going to grant that,” Koh said. “That was (an) extreme and unwarranted sanction.”

Meanwhile, back in the trial, Samsung’s lawyers have finished their questioning of Yang, with Apple lawyer Bill Lee now starting his cross-examination. Lee starts by getting Yang to agree that he never talked to any of the Samsung inventors even though they were in town recently.

Apple’s lawyer is getting to mention, despite Samsung’s objections, the fact that certain Samsung executives aren’t being called in the case. Lee is noting that Yang is the only one testifying regarding the Samsung patents that Apple is accused of infringing.

Lee also showing that Samsung isn’t using two of the patents at issue in its own recent products.

11:35 a.m.: Lee still hammering away at Yang. Current focus is on whether Apple’s products follow the specific steps outlined in the ’460 patent. That’s the one that covers separate email modes for standard email and those with photos.

11:52 a.m.: Apple wraps its questioning of Yang just ahead of the noon lunch break, with Samsung now asking a few on re-direction.

1:11 p.m.: We’re back from lunch, but the jury is still away while the attorneys hash out what Samsung’s next witness Jeeyuen Wang can and cannot testify about.

1:24 p.m.: Legal matters finally settled, Wang is now on the stand. Wang is a user experience designer for Samsung Electronics and is testifying in Korean via an interpreter.

Asked whether, in designing icons for the Galaxy products she copied any of Apple’s icons.

“Not at all,” she said.

And, if you just cant get enough Apple v. Samsung, here’s a video interview I did with the Wall Street Journal’s Digits show this morning:


Apple versus Samsung Full Coverage

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik