Trials & Litigation

John Quinn Faces Off with Federal Judge in Apple v. Samsung iPhone Case; Apple Seeks Severe Sanction


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Updated: A name partner of litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has gotten crosswise with the federal judge hearing the the hard-fought patent case beween Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., and counsel for his opponent is now trying to knock John Quinn out of the trial arena.

Samsung has filed counterclaims, and each party contends that the other infringed on its smartphone patents. Opening arguments began Tuesday in the San Jose case, but a trial on the merits has been slowed almost to a standstill by a fiery battle over Quinn’s representation of Samsung.

When Quinn sought on Tuesday to persuade U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to reconsider some evidentiary rulings, he was not only unsuccessful but visibly angered the jurist. Then, after Samsung issued a news release criticizing Koh for excluding evidence and providing it to reporters, Apple sought a contempt order against Quinn, contending that he had tried to do an end run around the judge’s rulings and influence the jury, the Mercury News recounts.

In a Wednesday filed declaration required by the judge, who had demanded to know who authored and authorized the release and what Quinn’s role was in it, Quinn said he had OK’d a brief statement responding to media inquiries seeking the excluded material. “It was not a general press release,” he wrote. He also argued that Samsung has a right to respond publicly to what he termed “unfair and malicious attacks” by Apple accusing his client of copying its designs.

Apple meanwhile fired a further salvo in a Wednesday letter to the judge from William F. Lee of WilmerHale. The Mercury News article links to the letter, which contends that the release was a “deliberate attempt to influence the trial with inadmissible evidence” that was “both improper and unethical” and said Apple planned to file an emergency order for sanctions later in the day.

That filing, Bloomberg later reported, was a call for the judge to grant judgment to Apple that its design patents were valid and were infringed by Samsung.

Alternatively, if the judge didn’t want to go to that extreme, Apple asked Koh to give the jury a special instruction about Samsung’s “serious misconduct.”

Quinn, who serves as managing partner of his firm, declined to comment to the Mercury News beyond what he had already said in the declaration.

A Samsung spokesman also declined to comment to Bloomberg about Apple’s letter to the judge.

After a Thursday response by Samsung that called Apple’s motion for judgment “frivolous at every level,” Koh let the trial continue.

Reuters also has a story.

Updated Aug. 3 to include Judge Koh’s decision to let the trial go on and link to a subsequent post.

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