Patent Law

Apple lawyer was 'appealing to race' in TV recollections, Samsung says in failed bid for mistrial

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A Samsung lawyer was unable to persuade U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday that she should declare a mistrial because of remarks by Apple’s attorney during closing arguments in the patent infringement damages retrial.

Samsung lawyer Bill Price argued the remarks by his opponent were “appealing to race” and “a direct appeal to racial bias,” report IDG News Service and Bloomberg News.

At issue were the recollections of Apple lawyer Harold McElhinny. “When I was young, I used to watch television on televisions that were made in the United States,” said McElhinny, of Morrison Foerster. He then named several U.S. TV manufacturers.

“But they didn’t protect their intellectual property,” he said. “There are no American TV manufacturers today.”

Price argued that “we all thought the same thing” when McElhinny made the remark: It was a warning that Apple could lose to Asian competitors. The judge disagreed.

“Actually, I’m Asian and I didn’t think the same thing,” Koh said. She rejected the mistrial bid, but did call the jury back to reread an instruction admonishing them they must not be influenced by prejudices or sympathy.

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