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Judge decries ‘theatrics’ at Apple-Samsung trial

Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 smartphone, left, compared to a Samsung Electronics Galaxy S II smartphone.

Jo Yong Hak/REUTERS

A U.S. judge rejected Apple Inc.'s request for severe sanctions against Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. over the conduct of one of Samsung's attorneys, even as the judge said that conduct risked tainting the jury.

A high-stakes patent trial between the two companies continued on Friday, where Apple sued Samsung over its intellectual property rights to the iPhone and iPad. Samsung counter-sued.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday had barred Samsung's lawyers from presenting some evidence during opening statements. Later that afternoon, Samsung e-mailed reporters links to that material, along with a statement that "fundamental fairness requires that the jury decide the case based on all the evidence."

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Samsung attorney John Quinn, of the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, acknowledged in a court filing this week that he authorized the press statement but said it was not designed to influence the jury.

Apple had asked Judge Koh to punish Samsung by ruling that Apple's phone design patents were valid, and infringed. In court on Friday, Judge Koh rejected that request, but said there may be more investigation of the events after the trial.

"I will not let any theatrics or any sideshows distract us from what we are here to do," she said.

The judge then brought in members of the nine-member jury, one at a time, to ask if they had read anything about the case since Tuesday. One juror said he had read Internet headlines but not the articles, and all said they could still be impartial.

After that, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller took the stand and was testifying on Friday morning.

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