Samsung is looking for every way out of the billion-dollar verdict, and a big part of their strategy has relied on one man: Velvin Hogan.
Hogan was the jury foreman in the Apple / Samsung patent battle, and his familiarity with the intricacies of patent law as it relates to technology may have influenced the outcome of the case. Hogan had this knowledge of law because he had been involved in lawsuits when he was sued by his former employer, Seagate Technology. To make the situation even more interesting, Samsung and Seagate have a “substantial strategic relationship.”
In essence, Samsung accused the juror of misconduct because he failed to disclose his previous run-ins with Seagate. What hasn’t been stated directly is that Samsung is actually accusing Hogan of having an axe to grind with any company that may have had something to do with his negative experience with Seagate in 1993.
Bloomberg talked to the jury foreman about the incident this week, and Hogan denied Samsung’s accusations. According to Hogan, the court required jurors to disclose any litigation they had been involved in during the past 10 years. The case which led to Hogan’s bankruptcy in 1993 obviously had not happened in the past decade.
“Had I been asked an open-ended question with no time constraint, of course I would’ve disclosed that. I’m willing to go in front of the judge to tell her that I had no intention of being on this jury, let alone withholding anything that would’ve allowed me to be excused.”
Hogan turned the focus back to Samsung saying that he was surprised that the company didn’t know of his previous case with Seagate. (Samsung has even gone on record in a filing with the court stating that they did not know of Hogan’s involvement in a case with a Seagate until after the verdict with Apple.) The jury foreman stated that he wondered if Samsung “let me in the jury just to have an excuse for a new trial if it didn’t go in their favor.”
Thoughts on All of the Finger-Pointing
Let’s be honest, it’s not likely that Samsung knew of Hogan’s involvement with Seagate before. Having a juror intimately familiar with patent law would not have been beneficial for the company accused of violating a patent unless the accused company had overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
On the other hand, Samsung does not have much to stand on here. Standard Law School professor Mark Lemley had this to say on the matter, “It is very hard to get a jury verdict thrown out for juror misconduct. If he truthfully answered the questions he was asked, Samsung will have a hard time proving bias.”
Since it’s simple enough to prove that Hogan was not lying about the date of his trials with Seagate, Samsung has to find a way to prove that Hogan deliberately misled the jury. Good luck with that.
Samsung may end up paying that $1 billion settlement after all.