In one of the more shocking developments in the patent wars Apple was awarded a 1.3 billion dollar settlement against Samsung for several counts of patent infringement this past summer. This record-setting ruling surprised many analysts. But shortly after the decision was announced Samsung filed for an appeal citing several reasons. The most highly publicized thus far has been Samsung’s claim that the jury was tainted. The juror in question, Velvin Hogan, is accused of failing to reveal a few relevant facts to Samsung’s legal team.
Among these facts were that Hogan had been sued by Seagate Technology, his former employer. Seagate is now partly owned by Samsung. Another interesting development was the news that Hogan had declared personal bankruptcy as a result of that litigation. And to top it all off, other jurors have said in several interviews that Hogan’s opinion and his experience with the patent system swayed their decision significantly.
Late in the day on Friday Apple, under court order, disclosed that they knew nothing about the foreman of the jury that would decide a case with multibillion dollar ramifications. They apparently knew that he had declared bankruptcy, but the Apple legal team did not look into the details of the circumstances surrounding it. Apple is also claiming that no one on their team knew anything about Hogan’s involvement with Seagate until Samsung brought it up in post-trial briefings.
I would NEVER want to imply that Apple is being less than straightforward with the court and there is no proof to indicate that is the case. But it is weird that Apple’s nearly unlimited funding couldn’t purchase a thorough legal team. Missing that one of the jurors was sued by a company that Samsung owns part of is a pretty big screw-up, from this armchair. Apple must have just gotten really lucky. The foreman had a huge reason to have a grudge against Samsung and then Apple gets on of the largest settlements in the history of corporate litigation. The ghost of Steve Jobs is probably responsible somehow. Even in the afterlife his promise to destroy Android must still be kept.
December 6th will be the next major court date for the ongoing patent kerfuffle. It’s sad that consumers have to lose while corporate lawyers win, but at least that isn’t anything new. Merry Christmas everyone.