Samsung says Apple patent verdict was tainted because of jury foreman’s misconduct

October 4, 2012
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Apple scored a big win over Samsung this August, when a California district court ruled in favor of the Cupertino company in its patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. The Korean company was ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages for having infringed on Apple’s patents and diluted its “trade dress.” However, Samsung is still seeking other legal remedies, among these trying to shoot down the jury’s decision because of juror misconduct.

In a request to dismiss the verdict, Samsung says that jury foreman Velvin Hogan failed to disclose his bankruptcy filing in 1993, and the fact that he was sued by hard drive-maker Seagate, his former employer.

It may sound far-fetched initially, but here’s where the bias might come from. Samsung says it has a “substantial strategic relationship” with Seagate. Meanwhile, the lawyer who sued Hogan is married to one of the lawyers who represented Samsung in the Apple vs. Samsung trial. As such, Samsung says Mr. Hogan, as foreman, may have been influenced by these relationships in leading the jury to decide against the defendant.

“Mr. Hogan’s failure to disclose the Seagate suit raises issues of bias that Samsung should have been allowed to explore,” said the company in a statement, suggesting that Hogan may have not been very truthful in answering court questions in order to “secure a seat on the jury.”

In an interview with Bloomberg, though, Hogan downplayed the accusations, saying that the court only requires potential jurors to disclose litigation in the past 10 years, saying that the bankruptcy case and Seagate litigation fell outside of this time period. Mr. Hogan was chosen as the jury foreman partly on the basis of his prior experience with patents, having obtained his own patent on “video compression software” for a hobby of his.

Hogan likewise wonders whether Samsung allowed him on the jury “just to have an excuse for a new trial if it didn’t go in their favor.” He said he agreed to take part in jury duty and even “took it as an honor” due to the lawsuit’s relevance to his being an electrical engineer, his profession for the past four decades.

Samsung has not responded to Mr. Hogan’s statements, as of writing.

Do the juror’s past lawsuits and relationships with the aforesaid parties warrant bias? Or is Samsung making a last-ditch attempt that is not likely to hold water?

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