Judge takes hard line in smartphone feud

With a landmark trial now just days away, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh set strict guidelines for both Apple and Samsung Wednesday, and chided both sides for not being prepared for trial after more than a year of litigating.

At a pretrial hearing in a San Jose federal courtroom, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh bluntly told attorneys from both sides that their case — which was first filed by Apple in April 2011 — was still not ready for a jury.

In their lawsuit, Apple accuses Samsung of copying key iPhone and iOS features and intellectual property in order to create their own products featuring the Android operating system.

After learning Apple wanted to talk about 31 infringing Samsung products at the trial, scheduled to begin July 30, Koh told Apple counsel Michael Jacobs and other plaintiff attorneys:

“This is ridiculous.”

The judge told Apple that they were being too greedy. If Apple were unwilling to drop their antitrust complaints, she could just vacate the trial and “go on vacation.”

Koh also warned Samsung for making the case unmanageable for a jury trial. While Apple listed 33 witnesses for its case, Samsung had 192.

Koh ruled both sides would have a maximum of 25 hours to present their cases, with no more than 45 witnesses each.

Evidence regarding former Apple CEO Steve Jobs would be excluded unless it was directly relevant to the case, Koh ruled.

Before setting a final pretrial hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday, Koh denied requests for secrecy and said “only exceptionally sensitive” material would be kept from the public record.

Simon Linder is an SFBay correspondent covering intellectual property.