Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) asked a federal judge in California to limit how much Apple Inc. (AAPL) can refer to the company's late founder Steve Jobs at a jury trial scheduled for July 30 over mobile-device patents.
Harold McElhinny, a lawyer for Apple, told U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose today that he plans to show jurors two slides of Jobs during opening statements in the case, including one when he announced the release of the iPhone in 2007 -- an "announcement that went around the world," according to the attorney.
"I don't want to see an opening statement where jurors see 15 images of Steve Jobs," Charles K. Verhoeven, a Samsung attorney, told Koh.
"Whether Mr. Jobs made a presentation is not relevant to their case" and excessive use of his image is "prejudicial to the jury," Verhoeven said. "It shouldn't be a popularity contest."
The dispute over the use Apple plans to make of its iconic founder came at the conclusion of arguments and rulings over pretrial issues. In the lawsuit, Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung and Cupertino, California-based Apple, the world's two biggest makers of high-end phones, have accused each other of copying designs and technology for mobile devices. The companies are fighting patent battles on four continents to retain their dominance in the $219 billion global smartphone market.
"I'm not doing a complete prohibition of Steve Jobs, but it needs to be relevant," Koh said, adding that she wants to see the images Apple wants to display before she issues a final ruling.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 12- cv-00630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).