Late on Friday the jury in the U.S. Apple vs Samsung trial revealed its findings in the case, and awarded a huge win to Apple, with the iPhone maker winning on almost on counts. Consequently, the jury said Samsung owes Apple just over $1 billion in damages.
We’ve already seen reactions from both Apple and Samsung, but also from Google, and we’ve seen the immediate effects the verdict had on both companies’ traded stock. We’re probably going to see both companies file various motions and try to overturn certain areas of the verdict in the day to come – yes, even Apple will file such motions as the jury found that the Galaxy Tab tablets don’t infringe on the iPad’s trade dress – but in the mean time let’s see what members of the jury had to say about their findings.
The foreman speaks out
First off, we have Velvin Hogan, a 67-year old engineer that also has a patent registered in his name, and who was chosen as foreman of the jury, probably due to his patent-related expertise. It’s also worth mentioning that from the nine members of the jury, others also had technical expertise that helped them reach a verdict so fast – just three days – after closing arguments.
In an interview with Reuters, Hogan said that Apple’s arguments “were persuasive in the jury room” and that Samsung’s execs that testified over video “made it ‘absolutely’ clear” that Samsung’s was a willful infringement.
“We didn’t want to give carte blanche to a company, by any name, to infringe someone else’s intellectual property,” Hogan told Reuters a day after the verdict.
However, Hogan said Apple’s damages demand of up to $2.75 billion were “extraordinarily high,” partly because it was unclear whether Apple had enough component supply to sell more phones even if it had wanted to.
“We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist,” Hogan said. “We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable.”
After finding that Apple’s were valid, the jury looked at every Samsung device separately in order to determine whether these devices were infringing on the patents in play:
“We didn’t just go into a room and start pitching cards into a hat,” he said.
“All of us feel we were fair, that we can stand by our verdict and that we have a clear conscience in that we were totally not biased one way or another,” Hogan said.
They knew from the first day
CNET scored an exclusive interview with another member of the jury, Manuel Ilagan, who revealed that the jury knew “Samsung had wronged Apple” after the first day of deliberations, and, while there were various heated debates before reaching the verdict, the jury could only find in Apple’s favor.
Ilagan was pretty familiar with some of the technical aspects of the trial as he holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and used to worked as a systems engineer for Western Electronic and as an applications engineer for Stanford Telecom. In what follows, you’ll see quite a few of his quotes which are quite revealing for the entire deliberation process the jury went through – and Ilagan was apparently ready to talk about various aspects of his juror job:
“We found for Apple because of the evidence they presented,” Ilagan said. “It was clear there was infringement.”
“Well, there were several. The e-mails that went back and forth from Samsung execs about the Apple features that they should incorporate into their devices was pretty damning to me. And also, on the last day, [Apple] showed the pictures of the phones that Samsung made before the iPhone came out and ones that they made after the iPhone came out. Some of the Samsung executives they presented on video [testimony] from Korea — I thought they were dodging the questions. They didn’t answer one of them. They didn’t help their cause.”
“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.”
“In fact we skipped that one,” Ilagan continued, “so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down.”
According to Ilagan, the decision was not hurried, even if the jury managed to come out with a verdict after only 21 hours of deliberations:
“We weren’t impatient,” Ilagan said. “We wanted to do the right thing, and not skip any evidence. I think we were thorough.”
“Once you determine that Samsung violated the patents,” Ilagan said, “it’s easy to just go down those different [Samsung] products, because it was all the same. Like the trade dress — once you determine Samsung violated the trade dress, the flat screen with the bezel…then you go down the products to see if it had a bezel. But we took our time. We didn’t rush. We had a debate before we made a decision. Sometimes it was getting heated.”
Ilagan said: “We were debating the unregistered trade dress claims. That took a while because some of the guys wanted to give [Apple] protection to round corners, the icons, and rectangles, but they were not registered. So, some of the jurors said ‘Why are we playing patent office? We’re not the patent office. It’s not even registered.’ And some of the jurors, when you look at the combination of those features, said it looks like an Apple. But we didn’t want to shut out Samsung from the market because we thought ‘OK, well, if Apple had tried to get a patent for all that stuff and didn’t, now they wanted us to be the ones to get it for them. We didn’t want to do that.”
“We weren’t going for Apple,” Ilagan said. “We were going by the judge’s instructions on how we should go about it, and we stuck to that. We weren’t thinking Apple or Samsung.”
“I realized that’s a big deal if Samsung can’t sell those phones,” Ilagan said. “But I’m sure Samsung can recover and do their own designs. There are other ways to design a phone. What was happening was that the appearance [of Samsung's phone] was their downfall. You copied the appearance…. Nokia is still selling phones. BlackBerry is selling phones. Those phones aren’t infringing. There are alternatives out there.”
Two other jurors in the trial had significant expertise from working for companies such as Intel or AT&T that helped the group out during deliberations. One of them, an AT&T project manager, helped out with adding up damages, Ilagan revealed.
We’ll certainly hear more details from the jury in the following days, as their verdict is contested by various parties that question the speediness of the deliberations, but also certain aspects related to the verdict form, and we have already shown you that there were some mistakes in that form, made both by the jury, but also by the entity that drafted the final version of the form.