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Top Reasons Why The Samsung V Apple Verdict Will Not Stand

by on28 August 2012 2635 times

The day following the Verdict from the 9 member jury we poured through the amended worksheet and noticed some very unusual things about it. We stated that it appeared that the jury had predetermined guilt and then spent the majority of their time figuring out how much they should make Samsung pay Apple. This was before any of the jurors had started to cash in on their “fame” and began the rounds with the tech press and TV. Now that at least one member of the jury and the jury foreman have come out and made public statements their intentions in producing the verdict are clear making Samsung’s bid to get it overturned a little easier… if Judge Koh at least attempts to play this one fairly.

We knew it on the first day -
So far two members of the jury (including the foreman) have made the claim that they knew Samsung was guilty on the first day.  To some this shows that Apple presented their case clearly and concisely. To others this shows that they did not deliberate at all after being instructed to do so. There is also a couple of nagging problems with the way the jury arrived at their decision. So far we have heard that the jury simply set aside the issue of prior art despite saying that there had to something out there “before Apple”. One juror claimed “it was bogging us down” while the foreman said they were not going to play the patent office. This shows a predisposition in favor of Apple and a need to find Samsung guilty. It is an unreasonable mindset for the jury to be in as Prior Art was a main pillar of Samsung’s case showing that Apple’s patents were invalid so no infringement could have occurred. The predisposition for Apple shows very clearly in a statement by the foreman.

“In this country, intellectual property deserves to be protected," he said. "If any company decides to ignore the stipulations and the rules and get too close that they cross the line and infringe and do it willfully -- they need to understand if they take the risk and get caught, they should have to pay for it.”

You can try to spin this attitude all you want, but a federal judge put the owner of a patent (for a method of recording audio and video to magnetic storage) in charge of a jury in a patent case. His patent also is very close to a patent held by someone else (TiVo) so being in that position gave him a subconscious leaning toward Apple in this case who also has patents that are being challenged by prior art. He has even commented that he put himself in the mind set of "If this was my patent and I was accused, could I defend it?” he also said "I thought, I need to do this for all of them".  The foreman was the person that “walked” the jury through how patents work. But they still did not cover or deal with prior art. Instead they focused on giving Samsung more than a “slap on the wrist”. This made the damage calculations a punishment and not compensation for injury. The jury clearly violated their instructions in this regard making the verdict suspect at the very least.

Not Playing Patent Office… At Least for Apple -
The second reason that the verdict is unlikely to stand is that both jurors have made comments to the effect that they did not want to play patent office, but just determine infringement or not. This was an odd thing to say considering they somehow managed to play patent office for Samsung and find that all three patents that Samsung claimed were exhausted. They knew that Apple infringed, they knew that Samsung had shown that clearly, but they claim the patents were exhausted. For Apple despite the existence of prior art (and even statements about them knowing there was prior art) they would not find Apple’s patents invalid. It is a contradictory statement that does not seem to fit the claims they are making about their deliberations. If they were only concerned with infringement then logically they would have found Apple guilty of infringing Samsung’s patents and not worried about exhaustion of the patents. Apparently that one did not bog them down at all, they were clear that Apple had done no wrong.  We are guessing that the foreman had a big hand in determining this part as his experience with patents would have led him to this decision.

We don’t need no stinking instructions -
So far we have heard that the jury did not fully understand the instructions given them, but they also did not ask for clarification until an inconsistency was found in their verdict. Somehow despite their careful deliberation and thoughtful preponderance of the evidence they managed to award Apple an extra $2 million for phones that they had previously said did not infringe. There is some reasonably sound evidence that the jury did not follow the instructions (awarding damages for phones that were not infringing and no damages for phones they found infringing). Outside the fact that they appeared to hit the popular phones in the listing they also have stated that they wanted to send a message and to punish Samsung.  

We said at the beginning of the trial that this case would be a battle of two styles. One is a marketing approach which Apple is exceptionally good at. They followed a friendly narrative where possible and portrayed themselves as the victim with Samsung the evil copier. The jury did respond to this and started to feel for Apple. According to the few members of the jury that have spoken the most damning pieces of evidence were the internal emails that Apple presented. Now, these were competitive studies of Apple’s products which contained details on how to improve Samsung phones. The jury clung to this and the email from Google that stated some of Samsung’s products looked too much like Apple’s. What the jury then ignored (again showing a predisposition in favor of Apple) was a very similar study performed by Apple to identify the reasons people bought android phones. The list includes many items that Apple is reportedly putting into their next phone. Following the jury’s claimed logic Apple would also be guilty of copying multiple Android phone makers. Somehow this was not factored into their deliberations.

Make no mistake there is something not right about the jury’s exceptionally fast verdict one person calculated that with the number of questions and the time they spent in deliberation they would have spent around 90 seconds on each question. The handwriting on the form bears this out as you can see the haste on much of it. There is also a question of how they jurors arrived at the damages figures they finally presented. There is no information on this at all in the form, but does seem to coincide with many opinions that they arrived at these figures based on their perception of popularity again in an attempt to punish Samsung.

Samsung has already stated they are going to file a motion to overturn the verdict and if that fails they will appeal. We have a feeling that this one may end up further than just appeals court as there are some core questions about the patents involved here. According to multiple legal experts you cannot copyright a UI. This was decided a long time ago yet Apple found a way around this restriction and patented it instead. This would show forethought in their actions for gaining this patent (which still have massive prior art to invalidate it). Apple knew what it was doing in their abuse of the patent system and the patent office ignored it. Simply because Apple applied these preexisting ideas to a phone does not mean the prior art can be ignored, yet this is what Apple asked the jury to do and it is what the jury did. In the end the fact that the jury appears to have ignored the issue of Prior Art is one of the most damning items to their verdict and that is saying something considering all of the other inconsistencies that exist in that form and in their statements to the press.

Read our initial analysis of the Verdict

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Last modified on 28 August 2012
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