We have been following the dispute between Apple and Samsung on our blog (see here).  On April 15, 2011, Apple filed suit against Samsung for trademark, trade dress, design patent and utility patent infringement, alleging that Samsung purposely designed several of its recent Galaxy line of products after Apple’s hit iPad and iPhone devices.  Taking a relatively aggressive posture, Apple requested accelerated discovery in anticipation of Samsung's upcoming product launches in the U.S.

On May 18, 2011, U.S. District Court Jude Lucy H. Koh ordered (see Order Granting Limited Expedited Discovery) Samsung to produce product samples, packaging and package inserts for Samsung models Galaxy S2, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Infuse 4G and the Droid Charge (4G LTE).  The Droid Charge was recently released, but the other models have only been announced and are not yet available for sale in the U.S.

The order states the "Court understands that production of pre-release samples to a competitor can be prejudicial, but believes that this concern can be adequately addressed by a stringent protective order." The expedited discovery of these models is ordered to be produced with the designation "Outside Counsel Eyes Only."  Apple and its in-house counsel are ordered to not have access to the expedited discovery.

Samsung's prior arguments concerning this issue were, according to the order, undermined by Samsung releasing images and samples of these models to the public.  On May 10, 2011, Samsung gave away 5,000 samples of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at Google I/O 2011 in San Francisco.

It appears the Court expects Apple will continue its relatively aggressive approach and pursue a preliminary injunction based on Apple's request for expedited discovery.  As stated at page 3 of the order, "courts have found that expedited discovery may be justified to allow a plaintiff to determine whether to seek an early injunction." Further, at page 4, the order states "expedited discovery would allow the Court to address any request for preliminary injunctive relief at the outset of the case, thereby providing a measure of clarity to the parties early in the proceeding and facilitating effective case management."