Saturday, July 28, 2012

Samsung proposes playing musical chairs during Apple lawsuit

Can two electronics giants act more like children than these two? In case you don't know, in a courtroom there is a table for the plaintiff, and one for the defendant. Samsung wants to be able to sit at the plaintiff's table when it is arguing in favor of its claims against Apple, as opposed to vice versa. And that's not all.

Typically, Apple would be the plaintiff, while Samsung is the defendant. It feels that since both parties have claims against the other, with both sides seeking royalties from patents from the other, that always referring to one or the other as plaintiffs wouldn't be correct.

Samsung said,

“Both parties will at times be acting as plaintiffs and both as defendants, and it is therefore important that both parties are treated the same. Equal treatment of the parties with respect to where they sit while presenting their affirmative case will mitigate any prejudice to Samsung that may result from Apple being in closer proximity to the jury throughout the trial.

“It will also ensure that the jury does not draw any improper inference based on disparate treatment of the parties with respect to their positions in the courtroom.”

Samsung also asked the court to refer to both companies as "claimants" during the trial. The company even went so far as to ask that its lawyers be allowed to sit at the plaintiff’s table while it is arguing in favor of its claims against Apple.

As silly as this game of musical chairs might sound, it's been done before. Samsung's briefs contain instances where similar treatment has been given to litigants.

Samsung's request came on Thursday. On Friday, Apple fired back.

“Samsung’s request to sit near the jury while it bears the burden of proof is unnecessary and inconvenient. Samsung has indicated that it intends to follow Apple’s affirmative case with its own affirmative case, before defending against Apple’s claims. If the trial occurs in this order, Samsung’s request would result in table-swapping every few days.

“Apple is the plaintiff in this case, as the caption on Samsung’s brief indicates. By filing a complaint and summons, Apple became the plaintiff and Samsung the defendant. By filing its counterclaims in this action, Samsung became a defendant-counterclaimant. If Samsung wishes to be called something else, it should have tried its affirmative case separately."

The court battle of the century - or at least of the last couple of weeks - begins on Monday.  Let's hope everyone behaves like adults.

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