Tag: jury

Judge halves Apple damages

Apple’s thermonuclear patent troll war against Samsung has run aground spectacularly.

A federal judge slashed a $1.05 billion jury award by more than 40 percent and set a new trial to determine damages.

It is usually said that Apple won its patent claim, which effectively was over the rounded rectangle shape, every time the patent war story is mentioned.

True, the iPhone maker convinced the jury that the Korean company had infringed on its iPhone and iPad patents, but the actual value that the jury awarded was a bone of contention because it seemed to have gone through rather quickly and had not added things up properly.

Judge Lucy Koh of the US district court, Northern District of California in San Jose, decided to strike $450,514,650 from the jury’s award.

She also decided that the two companies may once again square off in a California court to decide how much of the $450.5 million struck from the damages, associated with 14 Samsung products, should stand.

Koh said the jury had incorrectly calculated part of the damages and that a new trial was needed to determine the real dollar amount.

She rejected Apple’s motion for an increase in the jury’s damages award and ordered a new trial on damages for the 14 devices, which include the Galaxy SII.

Shares in Apple closed down 2.5 percent on the back of the ruling, while Reuters noted that shares in Samsung rose 1.1 percent this morning.

US jury to test IP address as proof of hacking

A US jury is about to make a landmark decision as to whether an IP address can be used to identify a software pirate.

Cases bought and paid for by Big Content depend on identifying the IP address of machines, but experts have questioned whether the IP address is sufficient evidence because it identifies an internet connection rather than a person.

A porn company, Malibu Media, has instigated 349 mass lawsuits, 43 in Pennsylvania this year. Most of the cases are settled out of court because the company was armed with an IP address and it could threaten users with settlement demands.

But in one lawsuit, five of the anonymous defendants protested when their internet service providers were ordered to reveal their identities.

They accused Malibu Media of pursuing the cases “to extort settlements”.

Judge Michael Baylson, of the Pennsylvania District Court, said that the accused claimed BitTorrent does not work in the manner the plaintiff alleges.

“A mere subscriber to an ISP is not necessarily a copyright infringer, with explanations as to how computer-based technology would allow non-subscribers to access a particular IP address,” he said.

There is no reason to assume an ISP subscriber is the same person who may be using BitTorrent to download the alleged copyrighted material.

He said that a trial was needed “to decide who’s right”.

According to TorrentFreak the trial will set an important precedent.

If the jury agrees that the IP address cannot identify a user, then US courts will not be allowed to insist that addresses are handed over to copyright holders.

It will also mean that copyright holders will not be allowed to threaten users with expensive court cases without finding other methods of proof. 

Jury sent out again in Oracle case

A US jury has been sent out to have a think in a trial over allegations that Google’s Android mobile platform violates Oracle’s patents.

So far it has not done that well. The jury has already wrestled with Oracle’s copyright claims against Google and came up with a partial verdict.

Now, accoriding to Reuters,  jurors are mulling Oracle’s patent claims, but these are less important because the damages are far less than what is involved in the copyright allegations.

Oracle sued Google in August 2010, saying Android infringes on its intellectual property rights to Java.

Google said that Oracle cannot copyright certain parts of Java because it is “open source.”

The complex trial in a San Francisco federal court has been divided into three phases: copyright liability, patent claims, and damages.

In his closing arguments yesterday Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs said it was not important that Oracle’s patents only cover certain parts of Android. He added that Google’s conduct was reckless.

Google attorney Robert Van Nest said the company designed Android from scratch.

He pointed out that there was no evidence Google encountered the patented technology until Oracle threatened to sue.

Oracle wants $1 billion in copyright damages, the patent damages are tiny.

Google offered Oracle 0.5 percent of Android revenue on one patent until it expires this December and 0.015 percent on a second patent until it expires in April 2018. Oracle told Google to go forth and multiply.

Last week, the jury decided that Oracle had proven copyright infringement for parts of Java. But the jury could not unanimously agree on whether Google could fairly use the code.

This meant that Oracle cannot recover damages on the bulk of its copyright claims. District judge Alsup has to rule on some crucial bits of law which will determine how a retrial will play out. 

Jury mulls Oracle and Google war

Jurors sitting in on the patent spat of the decade have retired to mull over whether or not they think Google owes Oracle a billion dollars for using Java programming in Android.

Oracle is suing Google, claiming that Android violated its patents and copyright to Java.

The case follows Oracle’s decision to buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion and acquiring Java. Before that, Sun was not interested in hitting Google up for cash.

Summing up Oracle’s case, Larry Ellison’s brief Michael Jacobs said the parts of Java software that Google copied took a lot of creative talent to compose. He insisted that it was like creating a symphony.

Google laywer Robert Van Nest said Sun’s leadership had supported Android, and that at the last minute Oracle decided against pursuing its own smartphone. He claimed Oracle only started suing after it failed to come up with a viable phone idea.

According to Reuters, the first thing the jury has to think about is copyright liability before moving on to hear evidence about patent infringement. US District Judge William Alsup must also decide on some of the questions of copyright.

Don’t expect the jury to come up with a speedy decision. The trial started three to four weeks ago and they are expected to take another month before they come up with a verdict. Whoever wins it is fairly likely that the other side will appeal.

The trial has required popcorn for those in the tech industry who watched it. Larry Ellison took the stand and was uncharacteristically flustered. When asked if he understood that no one owns the Java programming language and anyone can use it without royalty he was forced say he didn’t know.

Google CEO Larry Page did a little better by coming off calculated and reserved in his answers. Page said that Java was a platform and he called its boundries “blurry.”

Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz took the stand to defend Google. He said that if the Apache Software Foundation wished to release a product, even if it implemented Java APIs through Apache Harmony, it could do so without a licence – as long as it does not call it Java. The same applied to Google.

That stance ended up at odds with his former boss Scott McNealy who was called by Oracle. He said it was Sun’s practice to let other companies use Java, but only with a commercial licence, the primary requirement of which was that the licensee ensure that Java remain compatible. McNealy said that Ellison was a “hero” because he paid so much tax. 

Raj Rajaratnam found guilty on 14 counts

Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of hedge fund management group Galleon, was today found guilty of all 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy. The sentencing means that Rajaratnam could be spending many, many years in the clink.  

Rajaratnam was prosecuted following allegations he was paying company insiders for tips which allowed him to make money from investments – insider trading.

It was alleged that he managed to rip off the likes of AMD, Intel and ATI, making around $22 million and avoiding losses of $63.8 million as a result of information ahead of deals.

His lawyers had tried to keep him out of jail by maintaining for the six week trial that information was already publicly available. They went as far as bringing in papers from internal Galleon analysts showing that this was the case.

They’ll be as gutted as the US government and prosecutors are pleased at today’s result. The case has been full of twists and turns for all involved.

Only last week the case looked as though it could go back to square one when a juror had to be replaced after falling ill.

At the time, prosecutors had to give the OK to release transcripts of wiretap recordings to the jury, which were crucial to the prosecution. Prior to that other witnesses gave evidence against their old mate Rajaratnam. Ex-Intel employee Rajiv Goel was among them, who told the jury that he fed Rajaratnam insider information about his company.

A few weeks ago, jurors deciding the fate of Rajaratnam failed to reach a verdict after a week of deliberations, while there were more rumours that despite facing a long time in the clink, the Galleon founder had emergency foot surgery while he waited for the jury to return.

Raj Rajaratnam fraud case takes more turns

It looks like it’s a case of back to the start for the Raj Rajaratnam vs the US insider trading case, after a new juror had to join.

The juror had to be bought in after another was forced to drop out following a medical problem.  Although the newbie had been watching the proceedings in the trial, prosecutors are now having to go backwards while the jury begins fresh deliberations.

It was also confirmed that  prosecutors had renewed a request to give jurors transcripts of wiretap recordings, which had been instrumental to the case in attempting to prove that the Galleon hedge fund founder was guilty of 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy.

The new move is just another twist in the case, which has been turning for six weeks now, and follows requests  from the  jurors who asked for replays of several recordings as they did not have the transcripts to reference.

So far prosecutors in New York have had Rajaratnam under the spotlight, claiming that the hedge fund manager was embroiled in paying company insiders for tips which allowed him to make sure-fire investments.

Companies caught up in the rift include AMD, Intel and ATI, who all claim that  the mogul made around $22 million and avoided losses of $63.8 million as a result of information ahead of deals.

However, the trader’s lawyers dispute that he did nothing wrong and maintain that the information was publicly available.

So far his lawyers have undertaken steps to prove their client’s innocence. Last month they scrutinised papers from an internal Galleon analyst – who reportedly predicted that ATI was going to sell its stock months before anything happened.

To prove that the information was already in the media – something Rajaratnam has been saying all along – they also showed a range of news stories which speculated the AMD and ATI merger.

However, as the case has gone on, more and more witnesses have taken the stand against the hot shot. Most notably is ex-Intel employee Rajiv Goel, which among other things, told the jury that he gave Rajartnam information about the company.

At the time, the case took a turn when US prosecutors played the first wiretaps of phone conversations between the New York hedge fund and Goel.

Wiretap evidence is a central feature of the case, but the judge previously denied prosecutors’ request to provide jurors with transcripts after the defence argued that the recordings, not the written documents, qualified as evidence.

However, it’s all changed now and it won’t please Mr Rajartnam’s set. Just in case this shake up wasn’t enough, there has been more additions in the case which rather resembles a helter skelter.

Last week jurors deciding the fate of Rajaratnam failed to reach a verdict after a week of deliberations, while there were more rumours that despite facing a long time in the clink, the Galleon founder had emergency foot surgery while he waited for the jury to return.

It seems as though the whole sorry saga is back to square naught.

Using internet to scare juries is ok

In the Land of the Free it is ok to use the world wide wibble to scare the hell out of juries, a US Judge has decided.

According to Wired, Neo-Nazi William A. White had been found guilty of jury intimidation after  he posted the name, address, picture and telephone numbers of one of the jurors who convicted white supremacist Matthew Hale.

Hale was appealing his 480-month prison term for soliciting the murder of a federal judge.

The Jury thought that the obvious implication of this act was to arrange for the Jury foreman to be beaten up, or at least be scared by people who were Hale’s supporters.

The sub-heading added: “Gay Jewish Anti-Racist Led Jury”just in case you missed the theme of White’s post.

However, White was released from custody this week after a federal judge reversed his conviction.

White was the operator of Overthrow.com, a charming website which was affiliated with the white-supremacist American National Socialist Workers Party.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote that the article failed to specifically mention physical force to be used against the juror.

Writing something that is nasty and untrue was fully enshrined by the First Amendment. After all that is how Paul Revere got his start.

Adelman said that no reasonable factfinder considering the posts and the context in which they were made could conclude a call to violence.

Although we are talking about neo-nazis here who are not known for being reasonable.

The former jury foreman testified that he began receiving text messages after White posted his information. The texts, he testified, said things like “sodomize Obama, Bomb China, kill McCain, cremated Jews, all these really upsetting things.”

However he admitted that none of the texts threatened his life or said, “I’m coming to get you”, which the Judge took to mean that no “reasonable person” had seen a call to arms in White’s comments.  

In the UK he would have been banged up as threats are seen as a form of violence and intimidation, but it seems that the US still has a “names can never hurt me” approach to fear.

His case also said that if he had been arrested then the US government should bang up Sarah Palin.

Her website had a suggested hitlist of 20 politicians targeted with rifle sights dotted on a map.

One of these was Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona representative who was shot in January. The sarahpac.com site said, “Let’s take back the 20, together.” 

US blogger fined for exposing mortgage fraud

A US blogger who caused a man to lose his lost his job after reporting his mortgage fraud has been fined by a glorious US court.

Blogger Johnny Northside Hoff told the truth when he linked ex-community leader Jerry Moore to a high-profile mortgage fraud.

The post got Moore fired and he then sued Hoff and surprisingly a jury agreed with him in the Land of the Fee.

The Hennepin County jury ordered Hoff to pay Moore $35,000 for lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress.

John Hoff’s blog, The Adventures of Johnny Northside, has 300 to 500 readers daily. Moore was the former director of the Jordan Area Community Council.

According to the Star Tribune,  lawyers are divided as to whether the case would be overturned.

Jane Kirtley, a University of Minnesota professor of media law and ethics, said the cause was an example of “trash torts.” It is what someone does when they can’t sue for libel because the allegation is true.

She predicted the verdict will be overturned because it is covered by the First Amendment.

But U of M law professor William McGeveran, was not convinced that an appeals courts would retract a jury .

After Moore was fired by Jordan Area Community Council in January 2009, he was hired at the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (sic) to study mortgage foreclosures.

When Hoff found out, he wrote a post accusing Moore of being involved in a “high-profile fraudulent mortgage,” one of several that resulted in a 16-year prison sentence for former real estate agent Larry Maxwell.

Moore was not charged in the Maxwell case, although Hoff claimed he had documentation.

District Judge Denise Reilly threw out four of the five statements, saying they were either opinion or the comments of others on the blog.

But the jury agreed with Clark’s claim that Hoff had committed “tortious interference” by meddling with Moore’s employment.