Apple sued Samsung last year alleging that some of the South Korean company's smartphones and computer tablets are illegal knockoffs of Apple's iPhone and iPad. Samsung denies the allegations and argues that all companies in the cutthroat phone industry mimic each other's successes without crossing the legal line.
Quinn had been arguing for weeks to allow the jury to see the disputed evidence that purports to show Apple's iPhone being influenced by Sony Corp. designs.
Quinn and the judge had a testy exchange over the evidence on Tuesday before opening statements started. Koh has rejected Quinn's argument on several occasions and grew exasperated with him when he refused to stop arguing the point.
"Mr. Quinn, don't make me sanction you, please," Koh said. "Sit down."
Quinn did take his seat. But hours later, a public relations firm sent out the press release that prompted Apple's demands for sanctions.
"The excluded evidence would have established beyond doubt that Samsung did not copy the iPhone design," the release to media stated. "Fundamental fairness requires that the jury decide the case based on all the evidence."
The release also contained website addresses to access the disputed evidence. Those addresses have since been disabled.
Apple claimed the release was designed to taint the jury. Quinn countered that Samsung has a right to release documents that are publicly available.
Koh said she reserves the right to investigate the matter further if new evidence comes to light.
Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com