Ahead of the high-profile jury trial that begins in California on Monday, U.S. technology giant Apple, Inc. (AAPL: Quote) and South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (SSNLF) have requested the judge to keep certain items of evidence away from public in the much awaited biggest-ever technology patent trial.
The companies have asked Judge Lucy Koh, presiding over the case at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, to have certain items of evidence sealed so they would be seen only by the jury, judge and lawyers involved in the case.
The judge said she will allow some source code, royalty rates and unreported financial data to be sealed after seeing and reviewing the documents before accepting the requests. However, she added that most of the information will have to go public.
The judge also noted that most of the information sought by the companies to be kept confidential is already available in their respective public submissions, made time-to-time, to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, such as financial information etc.
Another request by Samsung ahead of the trial was not to be called the defendant as it could harm the offensive portion of its case. The judge favorably reacted to the request and said the companies would be referred by their names during most of the case.
The judge has however shot down another request from Samsung's lawyers to switch seats while in their offensive and defensive parts of the case due to space constraints. The judge said the courtroom will already be packed with audiovisual equipment and extra chairs.
The trial will see Samsung facing a potential ban of its Galaxy smartphones and tablets in the U.S., while Apple has put to test the legitimacy of its worldwide patent litigation strategy.
In the trial, Apple is seeking damages of $2.5 billion, while Samsung is seeking 2.4 percent for each iPhone sold in the U.S.
The legal battle between the two companies started in April 2011 when Apple accused Samsung of copying key design elements in smartphones and tablets. Samsung and Apple have filed at least 30 lawsuits against each other in at least 12 courts, nine countries, and four continents involving smartphone and tablet patents since then.
Apple has already won other major victories against Samsung as the sale of Samsung tablets are banned in Germany and its three latest Galaxy smartphone models are banned in the Netherlands.
The patent disputes have not actually affected their shipments. However, the recent ban from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Nexus mobile phone in the U.S., pending further review, would likely dent Samsung's shipments for sometime.
With Samsung stretching its lead over rivals Apple and Nokia Corp. (NOK) as the world's largest vendor of smartphones by shipment volume since end of 2011, Samsung is now expected to gear up to match or beat Apple, which is in the process of launching a new iPhone in the third quarter, and also a smaller mini iPad priced at about $199.
Samsung also ended Nokia's decade-long dominance in the mobile phone market in 2011. Samsung is forecast to sell 220 million smartphones in 2012, more than double the amount it shipped in 2011.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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