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Apple v. Samsung Jurors Speak, Skipped Prior Art For "Bogging Us Down" 506

Posted by timothy
from the that-stuff'll-just-get-in-the-way dept.
eldavojohn writes "PJ over at Groklaw has consolidated some of the more interesting juror comments made following the landmark $1 billion settlement. Apparently the foreman (a patent holder himself) took the jury through the process of how patents work and thus allowed them to return so quickly with a verdict without need of any instructions on how to work through all the material. Most sources are incredulous that all of the information was considered in the process. CNET quotes a juror as saying 'After we debated that first patent — what was prior art — because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art, that there wasn't something out there before Apple. In fact we skipped that one so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down.' While the fact that they they voted one way on infringement and another way on invalidity shows they were at least consistent, Groklaw is reporting on some odd inconsistencies in the aftermath of accounts from jurors. The appeal for something this huge goes without question but the accounts collected at Groklaw make this verdict and verdict process sound hasty, ambiguous and probably the result of one man's (the foreman's) personal opinion of patents."
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Apple v. Samsung Jurors Speak, Skipped Prior Art For "Bogging Us Down"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:35AM (#41129067)

    I can not see the judge confirming this verdict. It was way too quick

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:42AM (#41129109)

      America needs the income.

      • It looks like samsung ships 20 to 45 million smart phones and tablets per quarter. If so then 1 billion is less than ten bucks per phone, possibly way less. This is not a terribly inappropriate sum or one that's going to ruin samsung. Indeed samsung would have been glad to pay a billion for the opportunity to take Nokia's market share away from them. Nokia elected to use patent indemnified Windows, they exchanged patents with apple, and Microsoft paid for patents to apple as well. Samsung got the mark

        • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:02AM (#41129225) Homepage Journal
          I think the effect this case will have on the broadness of design patents is more important than the actual money. (Also, I thought Nokia's market was primarily the not-quite-smart market?)
          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:15AM (#41129299)

            I thought Nokia's market was primarily the not-quite-smart market?

            Yes, hence the decision to use a Microsoft OS.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Of course it's inappropriate when the patents aren't valid.

          Design patent for a 2000+ year old design? Apple should know better - they just tried it to see if they could get away with it.

          Stealing ideas from innovators in other fields and then patenting them with the words "on a phone" or "on a tablet" - wtf is that? again, they did it to see if they could get away with it.

          I bet there isn't a single patent that Apple has that is valid.

          Should just wipe em all away, bunch of idea thiefs. Should just take

      • by Sique (173459) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:13AM (#41129285) Homepage

        It's not going to America, the money will be sent to Apple. It's damages, not penalties.

        • by mpetch (692893) <mpetch@capp-sysware.com> on Sunday August 26, 2012 @12:40PM (#41129891)
          If the jurors had read the courts instructions (which the foreman claimed they didn't need to) then it was about "damages". The court instructions made that clear "You should keep in mind that the damages you award are meant to compensate the patent holder and not to punish an infringer." The foreman told a court official that the verdict was arrived at without needing the court's instructions. However, the foreman had this to say after the trial "We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist... We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable." So I totally agree with you when you say this was about damages and not penalties from the judge's perspective. I would say that wasn't the case from the juries perspective. To me Hogan's statement suggests that the award itself WAS punishment. I don't know how else to read his comment.
          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            That all sounds like stuff the judge should be deciding, not the jury. In the UK the jury is just there to decide, on a balance of probabilities, which of the two arguments is more likely. Then the level of infringement and level of damages is decided by the judge based on the jury's verdict on each individual point. The instructions given by the judge are very clear on the scope of what the jury should consider and what it should decide, and what are the key issues in making the decision. Deviation from th

          • by RedDeadThumb (1826340) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @02:24PM (#41130613)
            So you grab random 20 people off the street. Throw out the 10 that seem most intelligent. And then then expect the 10 left over to figure out the cost of damages in a complex (and vague) economic situation. How is that working out?
      • by DragonTHC (208439)

        really? The most valuable corporation in the history of the world "needs the income" ?

        Judge will definitely invalidate this one. The Jurors have already claimed they didn't deliberate properly.

        They just said, screw Samsung, we want to go home.

    • by wizkid (13692) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:56AM (#41129593) Homepage

      I've been following the trial on groklaw and the news. This judge has less then impressed me. She did a lot of things that I question. That being said, I'm not a expert on courts and the law. But, with what I've seen, I question whether she will overturn this jury. I think it should, just on the public comments from the jury, but the whole trial sounded to me like they were railroading samsung.
      We'll see how things turn out...

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:41AM (#41129103)
    So what was this Foreman's patent in? Did he have some reason to want there to be stronger legal precedent for, software/design patents? Why did the other Jurors simply follow this mans lead? Was it group think, at its worst or were they just eager to get the hell home because the entire trial was boring and silly in their minds and the fastest way to get out of there was to slap down a billion dollar number and then call it a day?
    • by Zocalo (252965) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:48AM (#41129145) Homepage
      He's an electrical engineer. Here's his patent at the USPTO. [uspto.gov]
      • by ericloewe (2129490) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:21AM (#41129335)

        From what I've gathered, his interests are pretty much the same as Apple's: defending patents that are pretty obvious and have quite a bit of prior art.

      • by GuyRiley (836754) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:34AM (#41129423)
        So.... this guy patented putting a wireless keyboard and SD card slot on a cable box? Wow, no wonder things shook out the way they did.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:42AM (#41129111)

    and the rest of the jury just followed along like lemmings. The foreman fancied himself an expert on patents, what with his vast experience of having secured 1 patent

    What a disgrace. Unfortunately rule 606(b) [cornell.edu] of the Federal evidence code precludes using the jurors' statements in an appeal. So they can prance and prattle like jackasses, but there's not much to do about it

    Did the juror text this info to the reporter with "send from my iPhone" at the bottom?

    • by Herkum01 (592704)

      I don't know this might apply,

      (2) Exceptions. A juror may testify about whether: (A) extraneous prejudicial information was improperly brought to the juryâ(TM)s attention;

      It depends on what could be considered "prejudicial" or not. If he had a pre-formed opinion (which seems likely) on patents and used that to basically ignore all prior-art evidence then that is certainly prejudicial.

    • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:11AM (#41129277)
      The way I read it is that they skipped evaluating one particular patent because they thought it was probably invalid because of prior art and didn't think it was worth their time even considering that patent, so they went on to considering other patents where they could understand the claims and the prior art situation better. I didn't see a blanket statement that they ignored prior art.
    • by nedwidek (98930)

      I'm not sure that he fancied himself an expert. More likely he knows just how invalid his patent is and is more interested in propping up the whole broken system.

      Seriously, how did it every get through the USPTO? That's rhetorical, I worked at IBM for too long and saw way too many of the patents that my group got.

  • by sinij (911942) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:49AM (#41129153) Journal
    Could jury know trial would likely go to appeals? They might have known that this trial is a waste of time and not likely to get resolved prior to Supreme Court.
    • by Zocalo (252965) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:20AM (#41129329) Homepage
      IANAL, etc., but while they might have assumed that there would be an appeal - it was pretty much a given, regardless of the result, really - but it's not supposed to matter. One of their obligations as jurors is to set their personal opinions aside and provide both sides with a fair trial. If they can be shown to have failed to do that, then the only fair and legal way forward is to throw the entire thing out and start over from scratch with a new jury.

      There are generally two way of appealing a verdict; attacking the opposing legal team (e.g. withholding and/or misrepresenting evidence), and attacking the court (e.g. failure to follow procedure, clear bias). I'm guessing Samsung's legal team will go mostly for the latter. Not withstanding the rulings from Judge Koh are heavily in Apple's favour, particularly in the case of denying some of their evidence (potential bias), there is a growing sentiment in the press that the jury badly failed in their duties, with the clear failure to sanity check their rulings against their penalties as Exhibit A.

      My prediction; successful appeal from Samsung on grounds of a mis-trial then back to District Court for a do-over and, no doubt, subsequent appeals and counter appeals... It's going to be a loooong time before we can stick a fork in this one.
  • by ElitistWhiner (79961) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:55AM (#41129187) Journal

    This was a simple exercise of recognizing a duck and whether there were any before Apple hatched the egg first.

    Samsung whined. Jurors were listening for a quack

  • by sribe (304414) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:57AM (#41129203)

    They're now taking things BADLY out of context. For instance, the quote about not needing the jury instructions, was NOT about the whole decision, it just about resolving their original 2 mistakes of including damages for phones they found non-infringing--well duh they didn't need instructions about how to fix that.

    And pay careful attention to the quote in the summary: the juror says they debated the prior art, then he says they "skipped that one". Hmm. He does not say they failed to consider prior art. He says the first one was bogging them down with the debate on prior art because they found it hard to believe there was not any. Then he says "they skipped that one", which, in context, probably means they put all questions regarding that patent aside to move on and see if the others were easier. But they did rule on it, which means they came back to it--and given their reports that debate was heated, it seems unlikely that they put it aside for a while, then came back and arbitrarily found for Apple without finishing their consideration of the evidence. It is really not reasonable to read that quote as saying the jury skipped consideration of prior art.

    Reading Groklaw's opinions of this trial has become rather like reading FOSS Patent's opinions of the Oracle/Google trial, or Enderle/Didio's opinions of the SCO trials. They've become so emotionally attached to the outcome they wanted, that everything about the trial is twisted to become part of the (imaginary) wrong that Samsung and the world are suffering at the hands of this (allegedly) rogue jury. Seriously, don't you notice that their comments disparaging the jury (who spent 3 weeks listening all day to the details of this stuff, far more than any of us will ever know about it) sound like SCO or Oracle disparaging their respective juries???

    • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:08AM (#41129257)

      I agree with what you said, except I have to add to the last paragraph that Groklaw is pretty opinionated and biased in most of their coverage, except that people like you are noticing it this time around because Groklaw's bias is not fitting with yours. If you think they're anti-Apple in this case, you think they haven't been extremely biased all along in Microsoft related cases? But since PJ is the darling of Slashdot while MS is the borg, anyone even hinting bias in Groklaw has been called a paid shilll and shot down and modded down to the depths of hell all along. By the way, I don't believe she's paid to do what she does, but the bias is always there, except this time it is more noticeable to the Apple fans on Slashdot, many of who previously jumped on the anti-MS bandwagon that Groklaw ran and called it the best legal unbiased analysis of tech law issues around. Funny how biases and prejudices work.

    • by Carewolf (581105) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:12AM (#41129283) Homepage

      Groklaw might be emotionally committed sometimes, but they are still emphasising facts, bring fact-corrections when they are wrong, and digs into actual legal document like no other journalists does, as long as they keep doing that they will continue to be a source of superior journalism on tech court cases.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sribe (304414)

        ...but they are still emphasising facts...

        Not lately. Lately it's been misquotes, misrepresentations, and opinions. That's my problem with it. In this case, they've let their emotional involvement overwhelm good sense.

        I'd been following them for over 9 years and finally gave up and unsubscribed yesterday, not because I care so much about whether or not they agree with me on any particular case, but because it hurt too much to see quality thrown out the window like that. I know it sounds maudlin, but it really did hurt to see PJ now doing, without

    • Groklaw is not, and has never been, a neutral, unbiassed source of information.

      What PJ did in the SCO case, and for which she deserves a huge pile of karma, is to present her pro-Linux, pro-GPL argument in an extremely professional, reasoned way, with copious references and links to sources, and with clear, plain English explanations of the law and legal procedures involved. Essentially, she was presenting the case for the defence the way it should be presented if the court system lived up to its own ideal

  • by Zocalo (252965) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:03AM (#41129235) Homepage
    ... and there's a potential huge opportunity for Samsung's marketing department here. As seen here [google.com], a court has just effectively ruled that Samsung's products are equivalent to Apple's. So, other than the Apple logo and brand name, why would you want an iThing when you can have the Samsung equivalent for any from a few tens of bucks to several hundred bucks less? After all, according to a US District Court, they are now essentially the same thing!

    The trick (of course) would be for Samsung to pull off the marketing campaign without being found in contempt of court or getting their products pulled from the shelves...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Swampash (1131503)

      a court has just effectively ruled that Samsung's products are equivalent to Apple's.

      No, it's ruled that Samsung's products are illegal copies of Apple products. And if you read Samsung's own testimony, Samsung admits that they're shitty copies.

  • by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:30AM (#41129395)

    How does the judicial system compensate for a jury foreman aggressively promoting himself as a de facto expert witness?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:53AM (#41129571)

      Samsung's lawyers failed to do their job when he was selected as a juror.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Samsung's lawyers failed to do their job when he was selected as a juror.

        Perhaps not. The real problem is where the trial was being held. I mean really, this would be about the same as getting a jury pool for a murder, from the people in the same neighborhood they lived. Or heck a jury for kiddie diddler, from the same neighborhood. It was a poor choice of venue, which makes me question why there.

  • by sootman (158191) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:48AM (#41129531) Homepage Journal

    "When the iPhone debuted, it was widely criticized for having no buttons/keys. Now people think the iPhone's design is 'obvious.' "
    - Dan Frakes [twitter.com]

  • by Biff Stu (654099) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @12:05PM (#41129681)

    Sounds like the USPO.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @12:35PM (#41129859)
    Aparantly we've sunk this low in the US of A.

    Never letting the truth or relivant informaiton get in the way of a good show trial. The only reason we know this much is because google. samsung, motorola, etc.. all intrested android parties have the money and influence in society to matter. Imagine being a random joe.

    If I didn't have faith in the judicial system before, I don't now.
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @01:30PM (#41130233)

    "[Hogan] the jury foreman, who is a patent holder himself told court officials that the jury didn't need the answer to its question to reach a verdict"

    "The foreman told a court representative that the jurors had reached a decision without needing the instructions. "

    "Hogan holds patents, so he took us through his experience. After that it was easier. "

    "In fact we skipped that one," Ilagan continued, "so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down." ...But we took our time. We didn't rush.

  • by SuperDre (982372) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @02:04PM (#41130463) Homepage

    after reading this, it's clear to me that the trial should be repeated.. I already wondered why prior art which was shown by samsung was put aside..

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Monday August 27, 2012 @02:52AM (#41134557)

    The patents that were upheld had nothing to do with rectangles with rounded corners but rather to do with interface design patents. Other Android OEMs have been able to avoid the issues that Samsung had by simply not slavishly copying Apple's implementation patents.

    Prior art be damned if Samsung ignores the prior art themselves and instead blindly copies Apple's implementation.

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