The claims of misconduct in the huge Apple/Samsung patent court case revolve around the actions of Velvin Hogan, who eventually became the foreman of the jury.
Hogan had experience of patent law from before the Apple/Samsung case, being himself the owner of a patent for a video recording apparatus, but was questioned over his ability to separate this experience from the case as presented: judging the case as instructed “and not based on your understanding of the law based on your own cases”. He assured judge Lucy Koh that this would not be a problem.
Yet in interviews following the ruling, other jurors have suggested otherwise. One juror named Manuel Ilagan claimed Hogan used his knowledge of patent law to influence the jury’s views. “Hogan had experience,” he said. “He owned patents himself… so he took us through his experience. After that it was easier.”
Hogan himself, perhaps unconsciously, backed this account up in his own post-ruling interviews.
Speaking to Bloomberg TV, he said: “Some weren’t sure of how prior art could either render a patent acceptable or whether it could invalidate it. And so what we did is we started talking about one and the day was over. When I was at home, thinking about that patent, claim by claim, limit by limit, I had what we’d call an ‘ah ha’ moment. I suddenly decided that I could defend this if it was my patent. And with that, I took that story back to the jury, laid it out for them, they understood the points that I was talking about.”
CNET quotes Brian Love, a law professor at Santa Clara University, who believes Samsung will find it “a little tough” to get the verdict overturned.
“You’re looking for material or something else coming in that wasn’t introduced at trial,” he said. “A juror reading reports about the case and they’re being influenced by outside forces.”
But Love added that the latter argument might not be beyond Samsung. “They might be saying that Hogan is bringing his outside knowledge of the patent system and essentially trying to become a legal expert inside the jury room,” he explained.
Apple and Samsung have been facing one another in courtrooms across the globe, after Apple accused Samsung of violating patents on the iPad and iPhone.
The cases have produced mixed results, but after lengthy courtroom jousts, the jury in the US case came down heavily on Apple’s side, awarding the company more than a billion dollars in damages – a figure that could in theory be tripled if the judge finds that Samsung violated the patents wilfully.