U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, Northern District of California (Jason Doiy / The Recorder)
SAN JOSE — How many days of dueling experts, bickering lawyers and vociferous objections does it take to exhaust a federal judge’s patience?
Eleven days and one hour, the legal teams waging Apple and Samsung’s latest patent battle learned Monday.
As the San Jose jury trial stretched into a fifth week, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh lashed out at an expert for Samsung Electronics Co. who suggested he had anticipated a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The appeals court on Friday gutted much of Judge Richard Posner’s pretrial ruling in smartphone litigation between Apple and Google-owned Motorola Mobility, but upheld his claim construction of Apple’s Patent No. 5,946,647, which covers “quick links” that flag phone numbers in content. Apple Inc. is asserting the same patent in its latest showdown with Samsung, but had construed the claims differently.
Although the time allotted for their cases had already run out, Koh gave Apple and Samsung’s legal teams one hour each on Monday to present more information about the patent in light of the Federal Circuit’s order. Both sides summoned their technical experts to reiterate their opinions on a patent that, according to a Samsung lawyer, accounts for about $900 million of Apple’s nearly $2.2 billion damages request.
As he began his testimony for Samsung, Kevin Jeffay, a computer science professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, told jurors the new constructions matched his prior opinions, though he couldn’t mention them earlier in the case.
Apple lawyer Rachel Krevans of Morrison & Foerster swiftly objected, prompting Koh to dismiss the jury. Koh fumed that Jeffay had suggested that she prevented him from giving his true take on the patent. Noting he had been “all over the map” on other aspects of the patent, she suggested Jeffay had purposefully left his views on claim construction undefined.
“I think he has been wanting to not take a position because you didn’t know how the Motorola opinion would come out,” she told Samsung partner David Nelson of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. “He didn’t want to own it.”
Rapping the table, Koh ordered Samsung lawyers to show her where the claim construction had been disclosed in his expert report. She even confronted Jeffay himself.
“Point me to the paragraph, sir,” she told him.
Nelson, who also argued for Motorola before the Federal Circuit, tried to defuse the situation, assuring the judge Jeffay did not mean to suggest he’d had it right all along. But Koh remained incensed. “I have no doubt that he was thoroughly prepped to put this in,” she said, snapping her fingers.
After a roughly 30-minute debate, Koh struck the beginning of Jeffay’s testimony and billed Samsung for the time.
Returning to the stand, a chastened Jeffay repeated his opinion that Samsung does not infringe.
“This construction gives me a basis for explaining further,” he said.
Earlier in the morning, Apple brought one of its own technical experts back to the stand. Carnegie Mellon University professor Todd Mowry testified that Samsung devices infringe the Apple patent because they have an “analyzer server” that receives data.
The parties are expected to give closing arguments Tuesday.
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