Ina Fried

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Patience Runs Thin as Time Runs Short in Apple vs. Samsung

While there are still two days of testimony remaining in the Apple vs. Samsung trial, there is a clear sense that time is running short.

In part, that’s because Samsung and Apple are quite literally running out of time to make their case. The judge in the trial, Lucy Koh, has given each side just 25 hours of time before the jury to make their case. And, in recent days, that has been further limited to also include certain extra legal arguments that either side wants to make.

By the end of the day on Wednesday, Samsung had less than three hours remaining of its time, while Apple had just under seven hours left. Both sides still have a number of live witnesses they would like to call, along with video depositions.

The clock was ticking particularly loudly on Wednesday afternoon as Samsung lawyer Ed DeFranco tried to get Steven Gray to quickly make his arguments that several Apple patents were invalid. At times he cut off his own witness as he sought to speed through the legal arguments.

Lawyers for both sides were often reminding witnesses that they were “on the clock” and frequently sought “yes” or “no” answers, though rarely did the highly paid experts offer such simple responses.

Samsung noted at the end of the day that it was still trying to sort through which of its remaining live and deposition witnesses it had enough time to call. And Apple is only somewhat better off.

Although it has nearly seven hours remaining, it must still make its case that Samsung violated antitrust law in the way it handled its standards-essential patents. Apple has listed 21 witnesses (including those testifying by deposition) that it might want to call. It, too, knows there isn’t that much time.

And there are a lot of issues in this case, not to mention billions of dollars at stake. Apple is accusing roughly two dozen Samsung phones and tablets of infringing various patents and protected designs, while Samsung has counter-sued alleging that Apple products infringe its patents.

Beyond the witnesses that need to be called, time is also running short to settle a number of remaining legal disputes including over what evidence remains under seal and over the final legal instructions and verdict form that will be given to the jury.

At one point, attorneys for Samsung warned that they could have pages and pages of objections if Apple didn’t narrow its witness list.

“Please don’t do this to me,” Koh said. “I’ve cried uncle.”

Koh pleaded with the lawyers yet again to reduce the number of filings in the case.

“There is just a human limit to what a rag tag (group) can do,” she said referring to her own small staff as compared to each side’s “legions of lawyers.”

“I’m trying to do this as expeditiously as humanly possible,” Koh said. As it is, Koh said she has several outstanding motions to deal with along with the 300 pages of disputed jury instructions. She’s hoping to rule on those by Sunday night to allow some time for oral arguments on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Koh urged both sides to make one last attempt at a settlement, arguing that both sides were at risk if the case was left to the jury.

Late-day discussion of the legal matters turned testy with Koh and both lawyers at times growing frustrated.

The jury is expected to start deliberating by next Wednesday, following closing arguments and jury instructions on Tuesday.


Apple versus Samsung Full Coverage

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