Judge Scolds Apple Employee for Using iPhone During Samsung-Apple Trial

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By Vittorio Hernandez | April 14, 2014 9:01 AM EST

It is not just in planes, libraries and places of worship where mobile phones should be closed or placed in silent mode. Add to the list many court rooms, including Courtroom 1at San Jose, California, where Judge Lucy Koh presides.

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A woman poses for a photo illustration with an iPhone as she plays Candy Crush in New York February 18, 2014.

Ms Kho is the one handling the protracted Apple-Samsung patent lawsuit. She ordered the placement of a sign reminding court attendees to switch off devices during hearings. It's not really so much the tap-tap on the touchscreen or keys of mobile phones that bother her but the interference of signals from mobile phones on a system that displays the real-time transcription by the court reporter on monitors viewed by Ms Koh.

The judge told representatives of the two tech firms on April 4, when the signal interference was first noticed, that without the real-time transcription, she couldn't do her job.

On Monday, a scan of the room found that at least one hotspot was still open, an SK Telecom roaming devices from South Korea, pointing to someone from Samsung as the probable culprit.

On Tuesday, more hotspots were observed to be open and Ms Koh observed a female employee of Apple using her iPhone. The judge ordered the woman to stand up during a break, give her name and they reached a verbal deal not to use a handset again when attending her court trials.

To solve the signal interference problem, lawyers from the opposing parties suggested hardwiring the transcription computers to the court's network during a scheduled two-day break.

Besides the patent lawsuit, Samsung seems to be in another trouble not of the legal kind but financial since the South Korean tech giant, like its Cupertino-based competitor, needs to discover a new growth driver after its smartphone sales, which used to be phenomenal the past quarters, are showing signs of a slowdown.

Although Samsung has a wide range of products from home appliances to chips, smartphones contribute more than 50 per cent of its profits. Last week, Samsung said it appears headed for a second straight quarter of profit decrease, year-on-year, while its shareprices dipped 10 per cent in 2013.

It is the first yearly decrease in profits for Samsung in five years, which the tech giant hopes would be reversed with the global release of its Galaxy S5 model last week.

To make up for the slower sales, Samsung reduced its marketing spending rather than make a proactive move to innovate, since the measures it put in place are only defensive ones to make up for the slower sales and maintain profits.

Lee Min-Hee, analyst at IM investment and Securities suggested for Samsung to shift the bulk of its production to mid- and low-end markets where margins are tighter and competition fiercer since the high-end market is already saturated.

Samsung had actually priced the S5 lower than S4, but despite the move, HMC Investment analyst Greg Roh said the company had cut forecast for Samsung's Q2 quarter sales and operation profits by 1.5 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri / )
A woman poses for a photo illustration with an iPhone as she plays Candy Crush in New York February 18, 2014.
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