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Apple's bid to add Samsung Galaxy S4 to patent case rejected as waste of time

A California judge has denied Apple's request to add the Galaxy S4 to an ongoing patent case it is fighting against Samsung.

Adding the new smartphone to the case would only cause further delays and run afoul of an earlier ruling that ordered the two sides to streamline their complaints and get on with proceedings, US Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal found in his ruling.

Grewal was not persuaded by Apple's offer to drop an older Samsung device from its complaint and swap in the Galaxy S4, arguing that the process was not as simple as Cupertino made it out to be.

Samsung, meanwhile, pointed to the fact that Apple successfully objected to Samsung adding the iPhone 4S to the case so late in the game, so Apple shouldn't be able to turn around and do the same thing it previously argued was unacceptable.

Samsung also pointed to a ruling from Judge Lucy Koh that ordered the two sides to streamline their cases into something more manageable, and argued that adding the Galaxy S4 would require "massive additional discovery" that would only prolong a case that has already been going on for several years.

Judge Grewal sided with Samsung.

"As Samsung highlights, the Galaxy S4 is new to market and so Samsung would be put to the task of marshaling evidence of consumer preferences through surveys as well as sales and marketing data on the newly released product to defend itself against Apple's damages claims," he wrote. "Apple's response that Samsung only need ask if and when it wants to add additional reports glibly avoids the realities of this case. Before Samsung could even seek relief from the court, it would need to meet and confer with Apple, obtain Apple's response, and only then engage in motion practice."

Meanwhile, "production of financial data for such a new product does not involve merely a 'push of a button' as Apple claims," the judge continued. Apple wants people to testify about the S4 and "preparation of witnesses to testify as to an additional product is not an insubstantial task."

Judge Grewal referenced to the nine briefed discovery motions the court has resolved since April, and the four more it has to address in the next month. Adding more at this point just "invites disputes," he said.

"Each time these parties appear in the courtroom, they consume considerable amounts of the court's time and energy, which takes time away from other parties who also require and are entitled to the court's attention," the judge said.

Apple, meanwhile, has argued that if the Galaxy S4 is not added to this case, it will likely be forced to file another lawsuit. Judge Grewal basically responded that that is not the court's problem. "Apple already needs to dismiss without prejudice several products from this case and so a new trial would be likely regardless," he replied.

This is already the second Apple vs. Samsung patent case making its way through the California district court. Last year, a jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion (£630 million) in a separate patent case against Samsung, though portions of that verdict were struck down and will be re-tried. This second case is scheduled to go to trial next year.

Both sides have already added and subtracted a variety of gadgets from the case. In November, for example, Judge Grewal approved a request to add the iPhone 5, as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, the Galaxy S3, and the Android Jelly Bean OS to the case.