It looks like these patent wars are set to carry on for a good long time and yet, despite the fact that the trail is over we’re still hearing from it. This time around, we’re hearing some more from the Jury’s Foreman, Velvin Hogan. Hogan was asked by Gizmodo to answer live questions from their readers and I was shocked to see that Hogan in fact agreed. So, the questions were asked and out of the few he answered came an interesting tidbit about how he and the Jury conducted deliberation. The question and answer are put below:
Did you have the opportunity to ask “Is this something that should be patentable?” during the trial?
Velvin Hogan @Demon-Xanth
No, however it was not the function of this jury to ask that. We were bound to use the law as it is today. The patents were issued and the judge instructed us not to second guess the current patent system.
The above of course, is completely untrue – line 7, of pg 35 of Judge Koh’s instructions reads “the decisions regarding infringement and invalidity are yours to make.” The instructions also go on to contain whole sections dedicated to the validity of the patents in questions so, the idea that the Jury wasn’t there to decide whether or not patents were invalid is ridiculous. It certainly seems that for a man who has a self-confessed “tech background” he really didn’t understand what the Jury were there to do. In fact, the jury instructions content a great deal of lengthy guidance on how the Jury could in fact find patents invalid. It’s obvious to myself that if patents were found to be invalid it could change the course of the entire case and I’m fairly certain that if I were in the room as the Jury were – including Mr Hogan – then I’d understand the implications of invalid patents even further.
There’s no telling how Samsung could use this to sway an appeal however, two things are becoming very clear. One is that Velvin Hogan should have ended his 15 minutes of fame with his Bloomberg appearance – the more we see of him, the worse it gets. The second is that the Jury really didn’t do that good a job being a Jury. They are there to follow the instructions of the judge and to do so to the best of their ability, as Judge Koh was not only increasingly fed up of both Apple and Samsung throughout the proceedings you’d have that she could at least rely on the Jury but, it seems like the Jury was led to disobey her own instructions.
We’ll be hearing more about this in the future I’m sure and I wonder when we’ll be hearing from Mr Hogan again, if we do at all.