Apple, Samsung file first joint set of disputed jury instructions

In a 361-page joint filing late Friday Apple and Samsung laid out their respective objections to the opposing party’s preliminary jury instructions for the upcoming district court patent trial scheduled for the end of July.

The disputed proposed jury instructions cover a host of procedural necessities regarding juror handling and includes operating minutiae down to when an instruction can be given and how said instruction is phrased. Many objections are based on unnecessary verbiage or when an instruction should be given, though some call race into contention and illustrate the implications of trying an international patent case in the U.S.

Samsung is worried about how a jury may perceive a supporting witness’s ethnicity as seen in the South Korean company’s juror questionnaire and has extended that concern to jury instructions.

For example, Samsung disputes Apple’s proposed reading of the following when the first foreign speaker testifies:

Languages other than English may be used during this trial. One such language will be Korean.

The evidence to be considered by you is only that provided through the official court translators. Although some of you may know Korean, it is important that all jurors consider the same evidence. Therefore, you must accept the English translation. You must disregard any different meaning.

In objection, the Galaxy maker claims that the “proposal will disrupt the trial and unnecessarily call attention to the witness’ ethnicity.” The company is looking to remove any relation of ethnicity and expert testimony during the trial and wants to keep the issue of race out of the proceedings completely.

Samsung’s proposed instruction reads almost identically to Apple’s, though “Korean” has been removed from the leading sentence:

Languages other than English may be used during this trial.

Witnesses who do not speak English or are more proficient in another language testify through an official court interpreter. Although some of you may know, for example, Korean, it is important that all jurors consider the same evidence. Therefore, you must accept the interpreter’s translation of the witness’s testimony. You must disregard any different meaning.

At issue is the interpretation of testimony given by Korean-speaking experts by a Korean-speaking juror who may form a different translation than the one given by a court interpreter.


While most of the parties’ objections are par for the course, some call into question the interpretation of certain trade and patent laws which are instrumental in trying a case regarding such issues. An example is Samsung’s proposed design patent summary which states “[a] ‘design patent’ protects the way an article looks, but not the way it functions.” Apple takes issue with this statement, asserting that the “instruction is misleading because design patents protect articles of manufacture that have or serve a function, so long as the overall design of the article is not “dictated by function.” Similar objections are seen throughout the document.

Presiding Judge Lucy Koh will take the proposed instructions into consideration and may request an updated pared-down set this week. Another option would be to hold judgment until the pretrial conference scheduled in which case the parties would have to make dynamic adjustments during the trial.

The Apple v. Samsung jury trial is slated to begin with juror selection on July 30.

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