Samsung and Apple are currently in the pre-trial phase of litigation known as Discovery. During the discovery process, each side asks the other for documents and other materials it feels will help its case.
Now one of Apple’s recent discovery requests was rather interesting. It asked Samsung to pore over its call center records and produce “any instances of customer confusion in which Samsung was made aware” that a user confused an Apple product for a Samsung product or vice versa.
As tends to be the case with discovery, Samsung denied Apple’s request claiming it was overly broad. And here’s where things get interesting, if not downright comical. You see, Samsung came up with an arguably clever, yet ultimately specious, excuse.
Samsung argues that fulfilling Apple’s request would be difficult and time consuming.
Why, you ask?
Well apparently it’d be difficult to differentiate all of the instances where a customer called to disparage Apple products.
For example, it is possible that Samsung customers may have contacted the call centers to comment on how they disliked their previous Apple product, but enjoy using their Samsung product. This would not be responsive to Apple’s requests, because the consumer is not expressing any confusion as to the source of the product he or she was calling about.
Call me crazy, but I can’t picture anyone, even the most crazed of fanboys, calling up a call center to to comment on how much they disliked a competitors product but love their new device from their beloved company. As Jeff Bezos recently explained in an interview with Wired, a satisfied customer is a customer you never hear from.
What’s more, Samsung wouldn’t need to examine all of its customer service centers, but rather only the ones that handle Samsung’s US mobile products.
Samsung’s legal posturing here is pretty sketchy, thought not all that unusual as far as legal tug of wars go. Truthfully, I doubt the number of calls involving consumers bashing Apple would make Samsung’s call-record search unduly burdensome. I may be going out on a limb here, but Samsung’s response here suggests, to me, that there have been more instances of customer confusion than Samsung would like to let on.