[JURIST] Judge Lucy Koh of the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] on Friday denied [Mercury News report] a motion filed by Apple [corporate website] requesting that the court sanction Samsung Electronics [corporate website], and declare an immediate victory in the patent infringement trial. Apple filed the motion with Koh, accusing Samsung of "litigation misconduct" [JURIST report], after Samsung publicly released evidence that Koh had explicitly excluded from trial. Koh had barred Samsung from presenting images of an in-development smartphone from 2006 because the evidence was not disclosed in a timely manner in Samsung's patent infringement arguments. Samsung then emailed the excluded evidence to reporters later that day. Apple contends that the release was designed to convey to jurors, through the media, arguments rebutting Apple's central allegations that Samsung copied the iPhone and iPad. Apple is seeking $2.5 billion for its claims that Samsung infringed patents covering designs and technology for the mobile devices. In June Koh issued an injunction [JURIST report] against Samsung blocking the sale of the Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer while the patent infringement case is litigated. That injunction was upheld on appeal [JURIST report] in late July. The trial began on July 30.
Apple and Samsung have been embroiled in continuous patent litigation in courts around the world. In July a UK court ruled [JURIST report] that Samsung tablets do not infringe on Apple's design. Earlier in July a federal judge issued an injunction [JURIST report] against Samsung to stop the sale of its Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the US. A week earlier the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had rejected [Bloomberg report; CAFC notice] Samsung's appeal of the decision that remanded the case to the district court giving Apple another opportunity to ban Samsung's Galaxy products in the states after it partially reversed [JURIST report] the district court's refusal to grant a temporary injunction for Apple against Samsung. Apple's request for a temporary injunction was denied [JURIST report] by the district court in December. Apple filed a suit [JURIST report] against Samsung in April of last year alleging that Samsung committed ten patent infringements, two trademark violations and two trade dress violations by copying iPhone and iPad technology in making its "Galaxy" products. In June, the District Court of The Hague ruled [JURIST report] in favor of Samsung against Apple holding that Apple was liable for infringing upon one of the Korean company's four patents, a 3G patent.
[JURIST] The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) [advocacy website] reported Friday that Zainab Al-Khawaja, the daughter of jailed pro-democracy activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], was detained [press release] Thursday by Bahraini police after protesting alone in Al Qadam. The BCHR alleged that Al-Khawaja was subject to verbal assault, threats and rough handling. On Saturday she was charged [AP report] with destroying government property including a picture of the king of Bahrain, and her detainment was extended for seven days. In May a court in Bahrain sentenced [JURIST report] Al-Khawaja to one month in prison for trying to organize an anti-government protest.
Tension between Bahrain's government and protesters has been on the rise since government forces clashed with protesters last year during pro-democracy demonstrations. The Bahrain Information Affairs authority announced in July that they had brought charges against 15 police officers [JURIST report] for alleged "mistreatment of inmates in custody." In May Bahraini authorities arrested [JURIST report] prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab. Earlier in May, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] called for the immediate release [JURIST report] of the leader's of last year's anti-government protests, including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.
[JURIST] A judge in the Washington County Circuit Court of Oregon [official website] ruled Friday that a death row inmate is not required to accept clemency granted to him by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber [official website]. Last December, Kitzhaber granted clemency to convicted murderer Gary Haugen after Haugen voluntarily waived all further appeals in order to speed up his execution in protest [AP report] of a criminal justice system he claims is broken. Kitzhaber is a vocal opponent of the death penalty [JURIST news archive] who in 2011 issued a temporary reprieve [JURIST report] for Haugen and called for an end to the state's death penalty. Kitzhaber's office is considering appealing the decision.
The death penalty remains a controversial issue across the US. In November the Connecticut Supreme Court [official website] upheld [JURIST report] the constitutionality of the state's death penalty law. Also in November the Ohio Supreme Court [official website] announced that it was forming a committee to ensure that the death penalty is not administered arbitrarily [JURIST report]. In March 2011 Illinois abolished capital punishment [JURIST report], concluding that there was no way to rid the capital punishment system of its discriminatory flaws. In 2009, New Mexico repealed its death penalty [JURIST report] on similar grounds to Illinois, asserting that the state could not possibly administer the death penalty impartially.
[JURIST] Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott [official website] on Friday appealed a federal judge's order blocking the enforcement of provisions of the state's voter registration laws. Abbott asked the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] to stay the order blocking enforcement of the law arguing that it will cause confusion among voters. Among the provisions blocked is a restriction that only deputy registrars may register voters only in their own counties. Opponents of the voter registration laws filed suit last year arguing that the laws suppress voter registration and violate the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) [materials].
Numerous new laws regulating voters' rights have resulted in controversy. There are now more than 30 US states [NCSL backgrounder] that require voters to present some form of ID at the polls, including 17 states that have passed laws that require a photo ID. Last month Chris Elmendorf of the University of California, Davis School of Law, wrote [JURIST op-ed] that recent statistical findings may contribute to courts declaring Section 5 of the VRA to be unconstitutional, while simultaneously strengthening the provisions of Section 2. Unlike the preclearance rules of Section 5, Section 2 nationally prohibits election laws that "result" in minority voters having "less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice." In May Elmendorf wrote [JURIST op-ed] that the "purpose" rather than the "effects" prong of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act may offer a better basis to challenge recent state regulations of the voting process. The DOJ relied on the "effects" prong of Section 5, which requires that a new law not have a retrogressive effect on racial minorities' political participation, in denying preclearance to Texas in March, and to South Carolina [JURIST report] in December.
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