Oz Apple-Samsung judge threatens to hear case on Xmas day

The judge overseeing the Apple-Samsung patent case in Australia has threatened to hear the case over Christmas, just to get through it all.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor on

While Apple-Samsung's first US trial has already wrapped up and is pending appeal, in Australia's Federal Court, Justice Annabelle Bennett has said that she will be willing to hear the case even on Christmas Day, just to get Samsung's patent counter-claim heard.

Apple and Samsung were not due to return to court for their patent dispute case over the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 and 4S until 10 September, but the parties called another interlocutory hearing in Sydney this morning to deal with a number of outstanding issues before the case resumes.

Chief amongst the concerns between both Apple and Samsung was time for the three independent experts — Dr Rami Mukhtar, professor Aruna Seneviratne and associate professor Riaz Esmailzadeh — to meet prior to giving evidence in court. Apple and Samsung have three experts providing evidence to the court on the three 3G patents Samsung alleges Apple infringed through the baseband chipsets in the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

The parties wished to give the experts more time to meet before giving evidence, but this, in turn, would delay the hearing of the case. The case is set down to be heard for five weeks from 10 September, before adjourning until the last week of February 2013 and running until May 2013, but Bennett said that she would like to get Samsung's patent case resolved before the end of 2012, so she can make a judgment on it before turning to the competition side of Samsung's counter-claim and, eventually, Apple's case against Samsung over patent infringement in the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

"It might be better off that we finish the patent cases. I can then use the time [over the break] to get that part of the judgment, and then we reconvene for the competition part of the case," she said.

Delaying hearings to give more time to the expert meetings would mean more days would have to fit in to this calendar year, she said.

"If you want me to sit on Christmas Day, I'll sit on Christmas Day, but we're running out of time," she said.

"We'll try our best to compress the timetable this year," Samsung counsel Katrina Howard said.

Samsung also sought to rule out evidence given by Esmailzadeh in a recent affidavit. He had devised his own patent idea, similar to the methods used by Samsung, and recruited a grad student to make a program to test his hypothesis. He relied on the outcome of this experiment in the affidavit, but Howard said that he should not conduct experiments without first getting permission from the court to do so.

"It is too late to conduct experiments," she said. "[Apple] cannot rely on experimental evidence."

Bennett agreed, saying that unless Apple applied to conduct experiments, the evidence was inadmissible.

"As at now, the view that I take is that this is not presently admissible," she said, adding that Apple could apply to have the experiment included separately.

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