Saturday, October 1, 2011

Court accepts Verizon's and T-Mobile's briefs in support of Samsung against Apple

On Friday (September 30, 2011), Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California entered an order ruling on multiple motions of a procedural nature:

  • Verizon's and T-Mobile's amicus curiae briefs have been accepted and are now deemed submitted:

    • Verizon had filed it on September 23 and on Thursday (September 29) defended its request against Apple's objections to the timing of the letter, raised on Tuesday, September 27.

    • T-Mobile had made its submission on Wednesday, September 28, and Apple objected to it the following day.

    • Verizon only asked for permission to submit an amicus brief. T-Mobile additionally wanted to participate in the October 13 hearing on the preliminary injunction motion. Apple reminded the court of the busy agenda at the hearing, and on this one, the court agreed with Apple and denied T-Mobile's request to appear at the hearing.

    • Apple asked for permission to reply to those amicus briefs (if they were going to be admitted, which is what has just happened) by October 6, but the judge "considers any rebuttal argument on these issues to be duplicative and unnecessary at this time". I don't think this is a major problem for Apple. While its lawyers would have liked to respond, the public interest argument in connection with a possible injunction had to be addressed all along, irrespectively of those amicus briefs.

  • Apple succeeded in obtaining permission to file a 30-page reply brief to Samsung's opposition to Apple's preliminary injunction motion. After Samsung's opposition to Apple's motion for additional reply space, Apple defended its request. In that context, Apple also addressed Samsung's claim of "doctored" and "manipulated" pictures:

    "[...] Samsung re-raises a bizarre argument that Apple allegedly manipulated photographs in its preliminary injunction papers to mislead this Court. It is unfortunate that Apple must address this allegation in connection with a page limit request, of all things. It should be sufficient to note that, in addressing similar allegations by Samsung of photo manipulation in Germany, the Regional Court in Düsseldorf rejected them as 'irrelevant' and 'non-prejudicial.' [...] The German court did so in the context of affirming, with modification, the entry of a preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1."

    The judge didn't state any particular reasoning and therefore didn't address the pictures dispute at this stage, but agreed with Apple that it was reasonable to file a 30-page pleading (twice as many pages as that court's local rules consider the norm).

    Apple has meanwhile filed its documents. Just like Samsung's opposition to Apple's motion was filed under seal, Apple's reply brief is also sealed, but a redacted version will enter the public record soon. (Theoretically, the judge could even order the public filing of the entire document, but since Apple and Samsung agreed on this course of action, the judge is likely to accept it unless they propose any totally unreasonable redactions).

    Samsung also achieved something in connection with the page limit issue. Should Apple use its reply brief to present new non-rebuttal evidence (Samsung voiced concerns that Apple's brief was going to be tantamount to a new motion masquerading as a reply), Samsung may file its objections by October 5, with a page limit of 3. Samsung is only allowed to object to the presentation of such evidence. If Samsung tried to use these objections in order to have the last word on some substantive issues, the judge will ignore any passages to that effect.

All in all, the judge has taken a rather permissive approach to all of these motions, allowing those belated amicus briefs as well as Apple's long reply brief and Samsung's potential objections to new evidence. The only request that she rejected categorically was T-Mobile's desire to plead at the hearing. That request appears to have been completely out of line.

For those who wish to read the actual order, here it is:

11-09-30 Order Admitting Verizon and T-Mobile Amicus Briefs

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