7/25/2012

Apple v. Samsung: Samsung destroys evidence and internal documents show it deliberately copied Apple

Samsung was previously punished for the exact same type of evidence destruction eight years ago. As shown in the next story, despite that destruction, it is amazing how much evidence was still available.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose, California, today agreed with Apple that jurors should be told that they can draw an “adverse inference” from Samsung’s failure to avoid auto-deleting e-mail Apple later sought as evidence. The jury instruction is a “modest” method of correcting for any harm suffered by Apple and deterring Samsung’s practices in the future, Grewal wrote.
“In effect, Samsung kept the shredder on long after it should have known about this litigation,” Grewal wrote. The judge said the “rolling basis” Samsung used for deletions resulted in a similar ruling against the company in case filed in 2004. . . .
 Now it becomes clear that even Google warned Samsung not to copy Apple.
. . . “Samsung’s documents show the similarity of Samsung’s products is no accident or, as Samsung would have it, a ‘natural evolution,’” Apple argues in its brief. “Rather, it results from Samsung’s deliberate plan to free-ride on the iPhone’s and iPad’s extraordinary success by copying their iconic designs and intuitive user interface. Apple will rely on Samsung’s own documents, which tell an unambiguous story.”Among those documents are a few purported to show that Samsung not only deliberately copied certain characteristics of the iPhone and iPad, but was also explicitily warned away from doing so by various third parties, including Google. . . .
  • In February 2010, Google told Samsung that Samsung’s “P1” and “P3” tablets (Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1) were “too similar” to the iPad and demanded “distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3.”
  • In 2011, Samsung’s own Product Design Group noted that it is “regrettable” that the Galaxy S “looks similar” to older iPhone models.
  • As part of a formal, Samsung-sponsored evaluation, famous designers warned Samsung that the Galaxy S “looked like it copied the iPhone too much,” and that “innovation is needed.” The designers explained that the appearance of the Galaxy S “[c]losely resembles the iPhone shape so as to have no distinguishable elements,” and “[a]ll you have to do is cover up the Samsung logo and it’s difficult to find anything different from the iPhone.” . . .
Meanwhile, it is funny that while this is occurring Google is claiming that some inventions are just too important to protect the intellectual property rights for.

In other words, Google’s view is that just as there are patents that are standards essential, there are also patents that are commercially essential — patents that cover features that are so popular as to have become ubiquitous. The latter are just as ripe for abuse as the former, and withholding them is just as harmful to consumers and the competitive marketplace. Viewed through that lens, multitouch technology or slide-to-unlock might be treated the same way as an industry standard patent on, say, a smartphone radio.
This argument, of course, has massive implications for Apple, which has developed a treasure trove of what might be considered by some as commercially essential IP around the iPhone and iPad. And the company was quick to take severe exception to it. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell rebutted Walker’s argument. “That a proprietary technology becomes quite popular does not transform it into a ‘standard’ subject to the same legal constraints as true standards,” he wrote. . . .

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