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Friday, March 09, 2012, 02:48 pm PT (05:48 pm ET)

Apple adds army of Korean-speakers to legal team in Samsung patent war

As part of its ongoing patent battle with Samsung, Apple has reportedly hired 73 contract attorneys and 20 reviewers of Korean-American descent to sift through the growing mountain of Korean-language documents provided by the Galaxy Tab maker.

It was revealed on Thursday that the 93 Korean-literate staff members are being contracted by two of the law firms Apple is using to fight its patent war against Samsung in the U.S., with the small army tasked with chewing through the untranslated documents provided by South Korean company, reports FOSS Patent's Florian Mueller.

Morrison & Foerster and WilmerHale both submitted documents to the ITC declaring that the Korean-speaking recruits have agreed to be bound to a protective order needed for the firms to share documents with the new hires.

WilmerHale, the firm tasked with defending Apple against Samsung patent attacks, filed the declarations of 72 Korean-American contract lawyers and 20 document reviewers that will allow them to take part in the litigation. In addition to cross-contracting six of the lawyers and two reviewers, Morrison & Forrester, which deals with Apple's patent assertions against the South Korean company, hired a separate Korean-American attorney.

Mueller notes that the newly hired lawyers may not necessarily have backgrounds in patent litigation, and suggests they were hired merely for their ability to read and speak Korean.

The move to take on the temporary staff stems in part from Apple's claim that Samsung has at times presented hundreds or even thousands of Korean language documents in an untimely manner.

The Cupertino, Calif. company alleges that some of the papers were received a day before deposition, and made it impossible for lawyers to analyze in preparation for testimony.

On Thursday, Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal ruled on an Apple motion which sought an additional deposition of Samsung witnesses who would testify on foreign language documents provided ten days prior to witness deposition, and english documents five days prior. Apple was granted part of its request, and is allowed a second deposition of up to ten witnesses as long as the depositions occur before the end of March.

Judge Grewal added that "the court strongly encourages Apple to extend the same opportunity to Samsung in those instances in which Apple has produced a substantial volume of documents shortly before, or after, a deposition."