The jury decided that Samsung had copied Apple and demanded the company pay a billion dollars. But it is starting to look like the way it did this was dodgy.
According to Groklaw, the jury had to file some paperwork which showed how it reached its decision. When the parties and the judge were reviewing the jury verdict form, Samsung noticed that there were inconsistencies in the jury’s verdict form.
In some cases it created results that were just wacko. One device didn’t infringe, but then they awarded Apple $2 million for inducement. In another they awarded a couple of hundred thousand for a device they had ruled didn’t infringe at all.
For example, the jury awarded Apple $2 million for the Intercept but found no direct infringement but did find inducement” for the ‘915 and ‘163 utility patents. But if a device didn’t infringe, it would be rather hard for a company to induce.
The Tame Apple press has been praising the jury to the stars. It has been claiming that the jury knew what it was it was doing because the jury foreman Velvin Hogan was a patent holder. But this seems to have been a liability.
However it appears that Hogan told court officials that the jurors had reached a decision without needing any instructions.
It is starting to look like the jury rushed through its decisions based on the “expert advice” of Mr Foreman.
Groklaw said points out that it was physically impossible to come up with a result in three days without flipping a coin to decide the tricky stuff.
To make matters worse, if the jury was going to be consistant, then the Galaxy Tab should not have escaped design patent infringement. This actually does look a bit like the iPad. Yet the Epic 4G which has a slide out keyboard, a curved top and bottom, four buttons on the bottom, the word Samsung printed across the top, buttons in different places was supposed to have infringed.
One of the jurors, Manuel Ilagan, said it only took a day to decide that Samsung had wronged Apple. But it could not decide about the prior art issues, which was a corner stone of Samsung’s defence. The jury decided that these “prior art” issues were getting in the way of letting Apple win.
This was where Hogan stepped in and solved the problem with his experience of patents. Before he did so the jury was having trouble believing that there wasn’t something out there before Apple. However Hogan’s answer was to ignore prior art and focus on the patent and whether Samsung had broken it.
As Hogan said to Bloomberg when he got into the case he started looking at the patents as if they were his and how he could defend them. This is not normally the way you try a court case. If that were the case a jury would be asked to imagine they are the victim and you have to come up with a way to lock your accused up.
Ilagan said that it meant that the jury could go faster as all this prior art nonsense was bogging the jury down. The jury’s inhouse experts did not have to decide if Apple invented the rounded rectangle, it just had to work out if Samsung had made a rounded rectangle.
Reuters quoted Hogan as saying that the jury wanted to send a message to Samsung which was not just a slap on the wrist.
“We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable.”
He claimed that the jurors could decide on these matters because a few had engineering and legal experience, which helped with the complex problems in play.
Now the main problem with his quote was it means that the jury was wilfully ignoring the jury instructions. It was written there that damages are not supposed to punish, merely to compensate for losses. It seems that the jury did not read them because a few of them considered themselves experts.
Samsung lawyer John Quinn is quoted by USA Today saying they’ll be asking the judge to toss the jury findings out. If she does not he will appeal.
Apple lawyers on the other hand will formally demand Samsung pull its most popular cellphones and computer tablets from the US and leave the market to proprietary handsets from Apple and Microsoft.
It is also expected to ask the judge to triple the damages from $1.05 billion to $3 billion.