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Samsung feels wrath of Koh in Apple case

Samsung feels wrath of Koh in Apple case

Samsung lawyers were on the hotspot in front of an angry Judge Koh as a result of a remark made by one of their witnesses

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose on Monday, April 28, 2014

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose on Monday, April 28, 2014

Lawyers for Samsung got a reminder of Judge Lucy Koh's temper on Monday morning when a remark made by one of their witnesses made them the target of her anger for more than 20 minutes.

Kevin Jeffay, a professor at the University of North Carolina, had just began delivering testimony when he asserted that the court had stopped from him using a specific definition of a software term in his work.

The meaning of things like an "analyzer server" and "action processor" hadn't been an issue in the case until Friday, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit published a decision related to a case between Apple and Motorola. The decision involved defining some terms that relate to one of the patents at question here.

U.S. Patent 5,946,647 describes a system to provide contextual links to phone numbers, email addresses and URLs in computer systems. The specific definitions provided by the appeals court prompted Koh to allow Apple and Samsung to each present an hour of additional testimony on Monday morning.

Apple expert witness Todd Mowry, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, told jurors that the specific definitions from the appeals court hadn't changed his assertion that Samsung had infringed the patent -- hardly a surprise.

Then it was Samsung's turn. Jeffay's comment that his definition agreed with that of the appeals court but that he couldn't use it didn't sit well with Judge Koh.

She called a halt to the testimony, told the jurors to leave the courtroom and, showing anger for the first time in the trial, challenged Samsung lawyer David Nelson to back up that claim.

As Samsung lawyers scrambled to find a reference, she also called to Jeffay, who was still in the courtroom.

"Point me to the paragraph Sir, you just testified. Where is it?," Koh said while Samsung lawyers scrambled to find previous testimony that backed up their claim.

Koh accused Samsung of deliberately taking a vague stance on the definition of terms such as "analyzer server" because it was not clear how the appeals court would rule.

"You can't tell me a single sentence in his expert report where he took ownership of the construction," she said, banging her hand on the table as she did so.

After putting Samsung attorneys on the hot spot for more than 20 minutes, she said she would instruct the jury to ignore his comments.

"I'm going to strike what he just said. I think he was primed to say it and that is improper," she said.

The incident was a contrast to the rest of the morning's proceedings, which focused on these software definitions and the intricacies of software subroutines.

It's a dry subject but one that the jury will have to wrestle with as it goes to the heart of some of the patent claims in the case.

When the additional testimony is done, the case will be almost ready for the jury. Judge Koh was due to spend most of Monday afternoon reading aloud the 53-page of jury instructions to the jurors.

Closing arguments are due on Tuesday morning, after which the jury will begin daily deliberations.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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