Responding to a U.S. district court judge's order, Apple and Samsung Electronics have trimmed the number of claims they will assert in a broad intellectual-property lawsuit regarding smartphone and tablet products.
Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on May 2 asked Apple and Samsung to boil down the case, which involves patent infringement and other claims, so a jury can comprehend the issues in a streamlined trial scheduled to begin July 30. Koh wants to give each side 25 hours to present its case.
In a filing late Monday, Apple stressed that a lot is at stake. "While the parties have been readying the case for trial Samsung has vaulted into first place in worldwide sales of smartphones, with massive sales of its copycat products," Apple said. However, in order to keep the current trial timetable, Apple said it would be willing to trim the number of claims it will assert.
"To preserve the July 30 trial date, Apple is willing to narrow the case on its patents for jury trial to four utility patent claims and a small set of design-related claims," Apple said.
The four remaining utility patents relate to Apple's multitouch functions. "Three of them relate to simple gestures that jurors will readily understand from seeing an iPhone in operation, and the fourth reads only on Samsung's two tablet products," Apple said.
The design claims cover multiple patents relating to, among other things, iPhone body style and icon layout design patents. Altogether, Apple is still claiming that a broad array of Samsung products violates these utility and design patents.
Apple said it is willing to drop, for the purposes of the July trial, claims including three utility patents, two design patent claims, all infringement claims based on the iPhone "trade dress" (visual characteristics of product packaging) and six trademark claims. In response to an earlier order by Koh, Apple had already dropped a variety of utility patent, design patent, iPhone trade dress and trademark claims.
However, Apple said it wants to reserve the right to ask for either a bench trial -- a case decided by a judge, with no jury -- or a separate lawsuit on at least some of the claims it is willing to drop for the current trial.
In its filing, Samsung said Apple has done little to streamline the case.
"Apple's 'narrowed' design patent case has dropped only two of its seven design patents and done so in a manner that does little or nothing to streamline the case for trial," Samsung said.
Samsung noted, for example, that "Apple still asserts that various combinations of at least fourteen Samsung products infringe five design patents."
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