US judge tells Apple, Samsung to trim down patent lawsuits

In much the way that a parent might tell two fighting siblings to quit being overly dramatic, a U.S. judge has ordered Apple and Samsung to simplify their patent lawsuits by Monday in order to start a trial on July 30, 2012.

Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California told the companies to slice the patent infringement and other claims to the point that a jury can not only understand what's going on, but judge the issues in a single trial. This was the second time that the judge had asked the companies to reduce the claims to a manageable level.

The companies made a joint statement on Tuesday saying that each had dropped some elements from the case, but 16 patents, six trademarks, an antitrust case, and five "trade dress" claims -- spread over 37 products -- were still left on the table. Judge Koh said "I think that's cruel and unusual punishment to a jury, so I'm not willing to do it."

If the companies don't agree to cut down the claims further, the judge suggested that she might push the trial date back to 2013. A completely separate case over a 2012 lawsuit made by Apple against Samsung is tentatively set to go to trial on March 31, 2014.