The claim was revealed in a motion filed by Apple earlier this month in the Northern District of California. As revealed by Network World, Apple has asked the judge to instruct the jury that Samsung had a duty to preserve evidence relevant to the ongoing case, yet failed to do so.
Apple's filing asserts that Samsung destroyed "vast quantities of relevant evidence in blatant disregard of its duty to preserve all such evidence."
At issue is Samsung's company policy of automatically deleting e-mails from custodian computers every two weeks, even if the company is required to keep e-mail evidence relevant to an ongoing case.
"Samsung's ad hoc, unmonitored email "preservation" methods have resulted in the irretrievable loss of unknown volumes of relevant e-mails," Apple wrote.
In the filing, Apple cited an e-mail from the head of Samsung's product strategy team, Won Pyo Hong, in which "side-by-side comparisons of Apple and Samsung products" were ordered for design presentations.
"Apple and the Court cannot possibly know how many more emails Dr. Hong sent or received that would have supported Apple's claims that Samsung copied Apple products had they not been deleted," the filing reads. "The same is true for many of the other Samsung witnesses who only produced a handful of emails, or none at all."
In the same case, Apple has also accused Samsung of failing to produce source code relevant to the trial. United States District Court Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal sided with Apple and penalized Samsung for refusing to provide evidence in a timely fashion.
And in April, Grewal also found Samsung in violation of a court order requiring the company to produce documents mentioning Apple's products. In that order, Grewal also imposed monetary sanctions on Samsung.
The accusations leveled by Apple come just as the company's chief executive, Tim Cook, is set to meet with Samsung CEO Gee-Sung Choi on May 21 and 22 in San Francisco, Calif. The court-moderated settlement talks were ordered by Judge Lucy Koh in an effort to resolve the legal dispute between the two companies, which now includes 50 lawsuits across 10 countries.
The legal battle began in April of 2011, when Apple sued Samsung for allegedly copying the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad. Samsung has shot back with its own patent infringement complaints against Apple, though it has not found any success in such litigation thus far, while Apple has managed to win some temporary injunctions on certain Samsung products.