Patent jury ponders Steve Jobs

The jury deciding the $2.2 billion patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung has apparently been focused on Steve Jobs’ “thermonuclear war” comments.

The jury is concerned about what Steve Jobs said when he decided to sue Samsung and whether he also wanted to go after Google.

In a note to the judge, the jury wanted to know what Steve Jobs said when he directed or decided to prosecute a case against Samsung? Was Google mentioned and/or included in that directive or subsequent directives to be included in any way in the case?

Google s responsible for much of the Android software code being fought over but wasn’t named by Apple in its lawsuit which was something that Samsung had used in its defence, arguing that it didn’t develop the software in question.

The jury also asked how Apple chose the five patents it is pursuing against Samsung, how Samsung chose the two patents that make up its counter case, and what Samsung’s top executive said when the case against it was launched by Apple.

Unfortunately the jurors found out that the answers to those questions fell outside of the information they can ask for.

Samsung’s lawyers wanted the jurors to be referred to a Steve Jobs 2010 memo in which he called for a “holy war” against Android, Apple lawyers argued that the document didn’t answer the question of what he said at the time the decision was made to sue Samsung.

US District Court Judge Lucy Koh agreed and answered all four questions with the same answer: You have all the evidence available to you in the case and you need to make your decision based on what you have.

What this means however is that the jury appears to be thinking that Samsung might have been caught in an anti-competitive proxy fight between Apple and Google. This would be bad news for Apple which hoped to put the fear of Jobs into Google’s suppliers so that they were too frightened to use Android, or were prepared to pay a lot of dosh to Apple to use it.