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Misunderstanding of Prior Art May Have Led to Apple-Samsung Verdict 503

Posted by Soulskill
from the surprise-surprise dept.
One of the interesting tidbits that came out of last week's billion-dollar verdict in Apple v. Samsung was that the jury's foreman, a patent holder himself, was instrumental in leading the other members through the various complicated infringement claims. Now, Groklaw analyzes an interview the man gave with Bloomberg News (video), in which his statements reveal a basic misunderstanding of what qualifies as prior art. Quoting Groklaw: "In discussing the first patent on the list, he says they got into a discussion about the prior art that was presented at trial. Here's why they discounted it: 'The software on the Apple side could not be placed into the processor on the prior art and vice versa. That means they are not interchangeable. That changed everything right there.' That isn't disqualifying for prior art. It doesn't have to run on the same processor. It doesn't have to run at all. It can be words on a piece of paper. (If you don't believe little old me, here's a lawyer noticing the video too now.) ... The foreman, in answering criticisms, says that the jury paid close attention to the jury instructions. But looking at this one, did they? I'm sure they meant to, and I'm also sure they did their best according to what they understood. But this was an error, and it's one I don't think the judge can ignore, if anyone brings it to her attention."
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Misunderstanding of Prior Art May Have Led to Apple-Samsung Verdict

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  • Use him for appeal (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @01:39PM (#41170073) Homepage Journal

    Samsung can use his misunderstanding during their appeal.

    On the other hand, there's no guarantee that the next jury will be any better than this one.

  • by icebike (68054) * on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @01:46PM (#41170165)

    Jury Misconduct. Plain and Simple.

    If the trial judge doesn't reject this verdict outright, it gets immediately appealed, and taken out of her hands.

    Further Apple's requested ban pretty much is Dead On Arrival with this kind of stuff floating around.
    Usually, on appeal, you don't go back to another Jury.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @01:50PM (#41170235)

    "We skipped that one" turns into "we skipped that one and came back to it"

    It didn't "turn into" anything.

    Here's the original context from the link you were too lazy to click:

    "It didn't dawn on us [that we agreed that Samsung had infringed] on the first day," Ilagan said. "We were debating heavily, especially about the patents on bounce-back and pinch-to-zoom. Apple said they owned patents, but we were debating about the prior art [about similar technology that Samsung said existed before the iPhone debuted]. [Velvin] Hogan was jury foreman. He had experience. He owned patents himself...so he took us through his experience. After that it was easier. After we debated that first patent -- what was prior art --because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art."

    Ilagan responded to those who suggested the jury came to a verdict in haste. Some are skeptical that the jury could reach a decision so quickly when they were tasked with answering more than 700 often complex patent questions. Members had spent three long weeks in court and the fact that they reached their decision just before the weekend also raised suspicions that the jury winged it at the end.

    Now tell me, tell me where it says they returned to it? In 2-3 days they skipped it and returned to it? It happened fast and they skipped at least one instance of prior art. Please come to terms with it and deal with it instead of being blindly pro-Apple.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @01:52PM (#41170271)
    appeals courts don't have juries either you retard.
  • by msauve (701917) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @01:59PM (#41170401)
    The forman, Velvin Hogan is, IMHO, a patent troll. His "invention" [google.com] is a TiVo, with options for a few minor and obvious additions (removable storage!, how inventive). He filed for the patent 3 years after TiVo first shipped.

    Seems to me he's just an opportunistic SOB hoping to make some money from some company who would rather pay than fight. Of course he wants to defend patents against invalidation due to obviousness or prior art. His would be worthless if that were easy to do.
  • by DanTheStone (1212500) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:04PM (#41170455)

    Jury Misconduct. Plain and Simple.

    Agreed. Having served on a jury, this is the kind of thing a foreman is supposed to prevent / report. It turns out that they chose the wrong foreman.

  • by coinreturn (617535) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:05PM (#41170461)

    You don't read the news on the intarwebs much do you?

    No, I'm just no so egotistical that I think I'm superior to a jury when I've only seen a tiny fraction of the evidence as presented on opinion sites.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:12PM (#41170571)

    Ha, Slashdot is so pro-Apple it's painful. "We skipped that one" turns into "we skipped that one and came back to it" and that gets modded up despite there being no such context in the original source [cnet.com]! Oh Slashdot, you so funny when you act like a kid and mod up the other kids!

    You are a fool. First off, even without any references to check, the implied meaning in that statement is almost crystal clear. But I suppose in case you are too stupid, we can reference the interview the juror gave (which is actually the REAL original source).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9cnQcTC2JY [youtube.com]

    In it, at about the 4:00 mark he talks about trying to not get hung up on one question, so they do the simple things FIRST, so that when they come back it would be easier. At the 5:15 mark he says "we're gonna move on and come back to this". At the 6:10 mark he talks about how eventually they would come back to those question, and having moved on and answering the other questions taught them enough that it made those skipped questions easier to answer.

  • by Zordak (123132) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:16PM (#41170641) Homepage Journal

    Read the first couple pages of this [ua.edu] and then tell me that this verdict is going to get overturned on appeal for jury misconduct.

    It is very hard to toss out a jury verdict. (In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law) (Seventh Amendment).

    This will get appealed to the Federal Circuit, and if Samsung wins, it will be on grounds other than the fact that the jury foreman had an axe to grind. I'm not aware of any issue in this case so juicy that the Supreme Court is likely to take it up.

  • Re:Hey now, (Score:4, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:23PM (#41170733) Homepage Journal

    That and the jury was 12 idiots selected because they never read the news and weren't that familiar with the events. When the prosecution was able to show all their DNA evidence, they presented the evidence as a series of numbers and odds. The jurors said in exit interviews they had no idea what they were listening to, and thusly ignored all the DNA evidence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:25PM (#41170765)

    100% Agree. The appropriate action would have been to return a question requesting the parameters to define prior art to the court rather than relying on the "expertise" of a jury member. Jury FAIL.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:28PM (#41170801)

    You must be joking....

    Patent 915 is the pinch-to-zoom patent that Samsung was found to have violated.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:38PM (#41170933)

    Normally, post-verdict comments by jury members about how they reached a verdict are not admissible as evidence for overturning the jury verdict. The major exception to this is egregious juror misconduct, which is different from simply misapplying the law or misunderstanding the facts.

  • Re:Runaway juror (Score:5, Informative)

    by msauve (701917) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:51PM (#41171117)
    This is a civil case. It's criminal cases which have guilty/not guilty verdicts. The standard for making a decision is very different, too - reasonable doubt vs. preponderance of evidence.
  • Re:Runaway juror (Score:5, Informative)

    by tattood (855883) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:56PM (#41171171)
    I am surprised that this guy was ever allowed to be on the jury. The lawyers on both sides must have screwed up royally to allow a person with their own patent to sit on a jury about patent infringement.
  • by cdrudge (68377) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @03:18PM (#41171485) Homepage

    From page 4 of the document you linked to:

    Under Rule 606(b), there are only two situations where jurors may testify
    to invalidate a verdict. âoeA juror may testify regarding (1) any extraneous,
    prejudicial information that was brought improperly to the attention of the
    jury or (2) any outside influence brought to bear upon any juror."

    I'd say the foreman telling the jury improperly why prior art should be dismissed would count as #1.

  • by NardoPolo88 (1417637) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @03:38PM (#41171723)

    Funny....I found it. How did you miss it?

    Vel Hogan: Oh. We read. First off, before closing arguments was given, the judge read to us the final instructions, instruction by instruction. Then she allowed the closing arguments, then she dismissed us. And so we had those closing argue..., those ah, instructions and we had them open there and then we took patent by patent and got hung upon the first one but the day was almost over by then and so I said to the jury, *******>>>>>>>>>>>>"We're not going to allow ourselves to get hung up. We're going to, if we find a debate like this, we'll move on. We'll do the simplest things first.” So then when I came back the next day...

  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @04:13PM (#41172099)

    That comment is wrong in many ways. The AC above me makes the legal points why your comment is nonsense. In my own experience on a jury, we couldn't even get the judge to clarify his instructions to us. Every time we asked the bailiff to clarify a certain instruction she would go to the judge to discuss it and she always came back with the response for us to read the instruction again and follow it as best we could. In no instance did the judge ever reword the instruction or give any other details. The instruction was there in relatively plain language, and we needed to follow that instruction. We weren't allowed to assume the instructions meant anything other than what was specifically stated. The same goes for the evidence, we weren't allowed to consider any evidence other than what was presented in court. We could question each side's interpretation of the evidence to determine how relevant it was, but we were only allowed to consider what was presented to us. That made all the difference too, the relatively young prosecutor had a minor problem with one of her charges that caused us to find the defendant not guilty of that specific charge, when in fact he should have been found guilty of something that he wasn't charged with. We were not allowed to reinterpret that charge or the judge's instructions in order to find the defendant guilty of what he actually did versus what he was being charged with. We deliberated for hours on that until it became clear exactly what we were being asked to do, and after that it took minutes to reach a verdict.

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @04:47PM (#41172483)

    If you actually watch the video, you'll see that the patent he is talking about is the "460" patent, is a Samsung patent on a method of transmitting emails from a mobile phone with a camera [theverge.com]. Indeed, the jury did rule that Apple had not proved that Samsung's patent was invalid [groklaw.net]. However, they also ruled that Apple did not violate it, so even if the jury had found Samsung's patent invalid based on prior art, it would not have changed anything.

  • Re:Runaway juror (Score:5, Informative)

    by CaptBubba (696284) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @05:31PM (#41172981)

    They had already used up all their jury strikes on people with more patents (one had 120!), as well as excluding owners of Samsung/Apple products, people who had read the Steve Jobs book, anyone who had worked for Apple, Samsung, or Google, people who worked for companies which did work for A/S/G, and anyone who developed for the iOS/Android ecosystems. I mean this was in San Jose... that doesn't leave you much left to choose from!

  • by Jherico (39763) <bdavis@s[ ]tandreas.org ['ain' in gap]> on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:31PM (#41173499) Homepage
    If he held a patent and it didn't come up in jury selection, well that's the fault of the lawyers. If it did come up in jury selection and he lied, I'd assume that would have a heavy impact on appeals, maybe even void the verdict. He'd probably get some jail time too. If it did come up in jury selection and he told the truth, it's up to the judge to decide if it constitutes bias (and they'll often base that off of asking the person if they feel they'd be biased) and it's up to the lawyers to decide if they want to use one of their limited number of juror exceptions.

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