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Friday, August 26, 2011, 11:29 am PT (02:29 pm ET)

Apple's expedited Calif. trial against Samsung to start July 2012

A California court this week granted Apple's request for an expedited trial start in its patent infringement suit against Samsung, though the trial's July 30, 2012 start date is not as early as the iPhone maker had hoped.

Apple originally hoped to have the trial, stemming from a patent infringement lawsuit filed in California, begin in February of 2012. Samsung, however, argued that the average time for patent cases to begin in the Northern District of California is 23 months, which would have resulted in a trial date of March 2013.

The court this week revealed that the trial will begin on July 30, 2012, six months after Apple had hoped, but also eight months before Samsung believed the proceedings should begin. Though Apple didn't get everything it wanted, Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents declared it an "important scheduling victory" for the iPhone maker.

"I believe Apple never realistically expected that the court would agree to a February trial date," Mueller wrote, "especially after Judge Lucy Koh rejected in mid-july a proposal by Apple to shorten the time for the briefing process leading to the decision now fully taken."

He compared the case to the Oracle v. Google suit, which is expected to start this October, or 14.5 months after Oracle's complaint was filed. The expedited trial date for Apple v. Samsung would be 15.5 months after Apple's original complaint was filed.

"Considering the greater complexity of Apple v. Samsung, this is really a pretty ambitious schedule and, therefore, a major win for Apple," he said.



In addition, all of the lawyers from the firm Bridges & Mavrakakis representing Apple notified the court on Thursday that they have withdrawn from the case. Their departure was in response to conflict of interest allegations leveled by Samsung.

In July, Samsung asked the court to disqualify at least some of Apple's legal team on the grounds that five of its lawyers, including one of the founders of Bridges & Mavrakakis, previously representing Samsung when they worked for another firm. Samsung also demanded that the other two firms involved in the suit representing Apple provide affidavits confirming they had not received "confidential information" about Samsung from the Bridges & Mavrakakis attorneys.

Apple first sued Samsung in April, accusing its rival of copying the look and feel of its popular iPhone and iPad products. Samsung has fired back with its own patent infringement allegations, and the legal battle has since spread across the globe, even leading to bans on the sale of some Samsung devices in Australia, as well as Germany, and other parts of Europe.