November 20, 2013 - Samsung Electronics has requested a mistrial in a retrial over how much Samsung owes Apple for patent infringement, and it's due to a remark the South Korean company construed as racially tinged.
Apple attorney Harold McElhinny, in his closing remarks, spoke about how he remembered watching television on TV sets made by American manufacturers - and lamented that those electronics companies no longer exist because they failed to protect their intellectual property. "We all know what happened," McElhinny said.
Samsung lawyer Bill Price asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to invalidate the trial, saying that there was "absolutely no evidence" for McElhinny's inference that Asian companies drove American manufacturers out of business.
Price argued that McElhinny was "appealing to race," but McElhinny responded that he "did not say a word about race, and I did not say Asian."
Apple attorney Bill Lee, who is Asian, sided with McElhinny. Lee said he understood McElhinny's comments as underscoring the importance of protecting intellectual property.
Apple won a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung in 2012, but Judge Koh reduced that amount by 39 percent ($410.5 million) due to a jury miscalculation. The case in question concerns how much of that 39 percent should be reinstated.
Judge Koh denied Samsung's request for a mistrial, but Price said he would file another mistrial request under a different rule.