Over in the US, Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal has decided to instruct the jury, at yet another Samsung vs Apple trial, to assume Samsung allowed the destruction of relevant emails that would have helped Apple's case. Apple is suing Samsung for $2.5 billion in damages.
The destruction of the emails is known as "spoliation of evidence". There is no clear cut proof that the deleted emails would have helped Apple's case, other than the fact that Samsung saw the need to get rid of them when it became clear that litigation was on the horizon after contact with Apple.
Florian Mueller, of FOSS Patents, who posted the order online, noted that the instruction was a lot less harsh than it could have been. The judge could have instructed for the jury to be told it "must" presume that relevant evidence in Apple's favour was lost, and that it means Apple's claims must be deemed proven.
The judge believed the order was sufficient and necessarily put Samsung in a bad light to the jury by suggesting Samsung had something worth hiding.
The judge's command for the jury to assume the emails would have assisted Apple's case is known as "adverse inference instruction".
The email in question contained notes, written by a senior R&D manager at Samsung, of a March 2011 meeting. At the meeting, Samsung's then CEO and the Vice Chairman of Corporate Strategy, came together to consider altering the Galaxy Tab 10.1 after the iPad 2 had been released.
Samsung tried to get around this by claiming it was simply following Korean privacy laws and deleting emails every two weeks, but after finding this problem in court before, the judge pointed out Samsung knew the consequences and could have easily saved copies of the emails.
The note will be given to each member of the jury.
The Samsung Apple patent dispute has expanded into dozens of cases worldwide, with Apple accusing Samsung of copying the design and Samsung accusing Apple of encroaching on its technology patents.
The crux of the dispute between Apple and Samsung is how so-called standard essential patents should be valued. These are industry patents which Samsung agreed to license to competitors on fair and reasonable terms, in exchange for having the technology be adopted as an industry standard. Standards Essential Patent (SEP) is a product category of patents, which include technologies that are industry standards. Standards essential patents are subject to licence on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory ‘FRAND’ terms.