Samsung Gets In Last Word Against AppleDespite Apple's expert witness barrage and time constraints, Samsung's Tim Williams manages to breathe new life into its case.
Testimony wound down in the Samsung vs. Apple trail Friday, Aug. 17, and Samsung, starting the day short on time, somehow got in the last word.
With a little over six minutes left on the clock, Samsung again called Tim Williams, an expert in wireless communications, and a witness who seemed to arouse Apple's defensive instincts more strongly than any other. On Aug.14, when he was scheduled to testify, an Intel lawyer unexpectedly showed up to protest that Williams might reveal proprietary Intel source code. Intel needed to block such a development, the lawyer told District Court Judge Lucy Koh, because it had not known of a conflict of interest that Williams had failed to reveal to it.
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That at first played well with Judge Koh, who advocates open procedures and is adamant that the record of the trial be a public one. She started questioning Williams, then smelled maneuvering. The incident produced Koh's second most notable declaration of the trial: "I want papers. I don't trust what any lawyer tells me in this courtroom. I want to see papers," she told the assembled Apple lawyers and Intel interloper. After review, she allowed Williams to be sworn in.
[ What was Koh's most memorable comment? See Apple, Samsung Battle Over Damages In Patent Trial. ]
Williams testified knowledgeably about the value of Samsung's patents governing transmissions on a wireless network. Other witnesses for Samsung had acknowledged that Samsung never approached Apple with information that it was infringing and only after it had been sued by Apple did it suggest a remedy in terms of royalties, a proposal that Apple rejected.
In cross-examination of Williams on Aug. 14, Apple's Bill Lee, both highly technical himself and skilled at getting expert witnesses to say what he wants them to, made little headway against Williams. Now in the waning minutes of the trial, the former wireless entrepreneur reappeared on the witness stand, ready to go again.
Apple had started the day with nearly four hours of time to its credit; Samsung just 46 minutes. Both sides were allotted 25 hours at the start of the trial. Apple used its remaining time to orchestrate a march of expert witnesses who alternately described Apple's patents as valid and Samsung's as invalid. Apple informed Samsung of its design and utility patents covering the iPhone in meetings leading up to its filing suit last year, but the two parties were unable to reach an agreement.
Given their time limitations, there was little Samsung's attorneys could do except hunker down against this Apple expert witness barrage. Occasionally, a Samsung attorney would pop up for brief cross-examinations. Apple expert witness Hyong Kim testified Friday that Samsung had been wrong when it asserted its 516 patent was instrumental in getting cellular handsets to drop fewer calls and manage its power better. He added, "I've concluded the patent is invalid."
Samsung lawyer Charles Verhoeven was on his feet to cross-examine. "You don't dispute the accuracy of how the Intel documentation describes the operation of the baseband processor?" he asked. Kim did not. Nothing further, your honor," Verhoeven said and returned to his seat. It was an exchange that seemed to leave Kim's testimony intact.
As the day wore on, each side were down to its final six minutes. Samsung needed to get its 516 patent back in play. It closes off competing channels in a cellphone, across which a cellphone's power is normally subdivided, with a maximum for each. Under the 516 approach, it can concentrate power on sending a complete long message or message with photos, video, or other data-intensive content. The iPhone and other manufacturers' smartphones implement the 3GPP standard, which includes the 516 power management approach. Intel's documentation confirms that the baseband processor used in the iPhone supports the standard, according to witnesses' statements in court. But the reputation of the 516 patent needed to be re-established after all the expert testimony against it.