Samsung Requests New Trial Based on Jury Foreman’s Post-Trial Statements

In documents filed with the court on Tuesday, Samsung has requested Judgment as a Matter of Law and/or a new trial in the Apple v. Samsung case that recently made headlines for the jury’s award of $1.05 billion to Apple for patent infringement.

The motion papers assert that the jury’s foreman, Velvin Hogan, has given at least a dozen public interviews since the trial concluded (including an interview with the tech website The Verge), and that during those interviews he misstated the law as it regards patent infringement. Specifically, Mr. Hogan stated that “he told his fellow jurors an accused device infringes a design patent based on ‘look and feel’…that an accused device infringes a patent unless it is ‘entirely different’…that a prior art reference could not be invalidating unless that reference was ‘interchangeable.'” (Motion, p. 14, ln. 15–18.) Samsung argues that “[t]hese incorrect and extraneous legal standards had no place in the jury room.” (Motion, p. 14, ln. 19–20.) A longer analysis of this filing can be found on Groklaw.

Samsung also draws attention to the fact that Mr. Hogan was sued by one of his former employers—Seagate, which is partially-owned by Samsung. This information was not disclosed by Mr. Hogan during voir dire. Mr. Hogan claims that the court’s instructions only required him to disclose litigation with which he had been involved in the past 10 years, and that the Seagate lawsuit occurred in 1993. It’s not entirely clear what the court or the parties asked regarding prior litigation, but having been sued by an entity partly owned by one of the parties to the case on which he was a juror seems like it would be relevant to whether Mr. Hogan could be fair and impartial, which is traditionally a question for potential jurors.

Mr. Hogan has questioned whether Samsung’s attorneys let him be on the jury simply so they would have an excuse to request a new trial if the result was less than optimal.

(photo: Shutterstock: 99280415)

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  • Michael

    Given the insane amount at stake in this case, and the ability of the jury research folks to dig up pretty much anything on anybody in five minutes, I have a hard time believing they didn’t already know all of that notwithstanding what was mentioned in void dire.

    The other argument about obvious misunderstanding of the law has some interest though. Not giving it a great chance though.

  • Ben

    I don’t think I’d want patent precedent set by bungled voir dire, but what are the odds that Congress would be able to get its act together long enough to legislate the result? I don’t know that they should get a new trial, but I sure hope the judges severely limit the applicability of these rulings. That, and somehow these have to jive with the varying results that have been handed down in many other countries… what a silly, stupid mess.

    • Graham Martin

      I have a strange feeling that the minutiae of details dealt with in patent prosecution, combined with the strange circumstances of this particular case may significantly limit the applicability of this ruling for purposes other than warning the rest of the tech world that if you base your entire production of a piece of technology on another company’s similar extant technology, you may be at risk for significant damages. That’s far too long of a sentence for me to have written, though, so I will let the trolls pick it apart and respond later.

  • It’s rather odd to us Brits in England because patent cases are heard in the Patents court, and some people just fail to get their act to allow some common sense to prevail and NOT not have jury trials concerning civil matters.H