Samsung accused Apple of improperly influencing expert witnesses on Monday,
following the amendment of an expert report delivered to the Korean company’s
legal team late Sunday night.
The accusation came during the start of the second week of the companies’
patent trial in Australia’s Federal Court in Sydney.
The report, written by three experts, concerns three 3G-related patents owned by Samsung that the company accuses Apple of violating in the iPhone 4 and 4S models and second iPad model.
Samsung counsel Katrina Howard said it was “most inappropriate” for Apple to
call a meeting with the experts and ask them to reconsider their opinions, which
deal with highly technical details concerning Apple’s alleged violation of
Samsung’s patents. Apple counsel Stephen Burley said there were just two
Howard argued to Justice Annabelle Claire Bennett that Samsung should be
given the chance to cross-examine the witnesses prior to the “hot tub” testimony
from the experts.
Australian courts used the term “hot tub” to describe a hearing in which
several expert witnesses give evidence in court at the same time, an arrangement
which is believed to offer greater clarity on the technical issues at hand.
The change in opinion by the experts seemed unlikely to cause a major problem
in the trial, however. Bennett said it was not unheard of for experts to change
their opinion. Samsung would have the opportunity to ask the experts why they
changed their minds, she said.
“The expert report is a piece of evidence but can be challenged in cross
examination,” Bennett said.
Monday’s hearing was predominantly consumed with Howard reviewing affidavits
from experts expected to eventually give testimony for Bennett.
The battle between Samsung and Australia has so far lacked much of the rich
detail from the U.S. trial, which began July 31 in U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of California in San Jose, California.
Documents released in the U.S. include early iPhone and iPad designs drawn up
before Apple’s products were released, as part of its contention that Samsung
copied its products.
The Australian court is first addressing Samsung’s allegation that Apple
infringes three of its 3G patents, and proceedings so far have focused around
the technical details of those innovations.
The 3G patents are Australian patents No. 2005202512 and No. 2006241621,
which deal with power control and the format of packet headers used for 3G data
transmissions, and patent No. 2005239657, which deals with rate matching
patterns used in data transmission.
Apple accuses Samsung of infringing touchscreen patents it holds, although
those allegations have not been dealt with yet. The trial, which was originally
scheduled to run through October, has been revised and will now run
intermittently through May 2013