SAN JOSE — Does a single smartphone application constitute both a client and a server was the main issue wrestled with in final testimony in the Apple-Samsung infringement trial here on Monday. Judge Lucy Koh reopened examination of this particular aspect of the case as a result of the U.S. Court of Appeals opinion on Friday that contradicted the definition of key concepts prevailing in her courtroom regarding the matter.
In a separate infringement case in Illinois where Apple sued Motorola, the appellate court disagreed with Apple that a client and a server need necessarily be separate. Instead the court agreed with the appealed U.S. District Court opinion that the Apple solution, termed “analyzer server”, is indeed a “server routine separate from the client.” Consequently, what Apple claims appears not to be present and hence could have significant impact on the overall damage award even if Samsung is found to have infringed the particular patent.
The appellate court construction is perfectly logical, said Samsung’s expert witness Dr. Kevin Jeffay, computer science professor at University of North Carolina. I always assumed from the beginning there had to be a server but the court did not allow me to use that definition. That comment drew immediate objection from the Apple side of the aisle and Judge Koh immediately ordered her jury out of the court room to the jury room.
Judge Koh perhaps did not care for further embarrassment of her court beyond the appellate court’s decision and berated Samsung, the defendant, for having used the weekend to coach their witness to “get this in.” What followed was an intriguing scene of scolding, accusations, and interruptions while the Samsung team frantically searched the record to find when and if the witness had been denied a permission to testify that iPhones apply a server separate from a client. Judge Koh persisted and assessed a flagrant foul.
After a heated discussion with the lawyers the judge ordered stern instructions that the witness, Dr. Jeffay, would not be allowed to testify that he had not been allowed to use the definition he said he had wanted to use. He did however get a permission to say that shared software libraries on a server are separate from applications on the client. Judge Koh instructed the jury not to consider Dr. Jeffay's earlier testimony and play resumed.
In earlier testimony, Apple's expert witness, Dr. Todd Mowry, professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, did not concede any change in his expert opinion on infringement and validity of claims as a result of the appellate court’s decision.
In the jury instructions Judge Koh read to the jury before adjourning for the day, she did instruct the jury to apply the appellate court’s definitions of the iPhone software components.
The final instructions sharpen the overall case for the jury and what they have to determine. Their decisions center on infringement of patents, validity of contended patents, and determination of damages. The decisions are identical for all patents except one, the so called auto-correct patent generally referred to as ‘172. Judge Koh has already ruled that patent has been infringed and the jury is only to determine the validity of the claim and commensurate damages if applicable.
Closing arguments by attorneys will be made Tuesday morning. Jury deliberations start on Wednesday.
— Magnus Thordarson is an IT consultant and freelance writer based in San Jose, Calif. With a background in industry and academia, he is a veteran of Kaiser Permanente IT and writes about all aspects of information technology and management of information systems.
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