Patent Law

Jury Foreman in $1B Apple Case Said Jurors' Legal and Engineering Experience Speeded Deliberations


Updated: The foreman of the jury that awarded Apple $1.05 billion on Friday is a retired engineer who has patented his own inventions.

Foreman Velvin Hogan, 67, told Reuters that jurors were able to reach a quick verdict—they did so on the third day of deliberations—because some had legal and engineering experience. He told the San Jose Mercury News that the intent was to send a message to Samsung that “patent infringing is not the right thing to do.”

“We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist,” Hogan told Reuters. “We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable.”

The most persuasive evidence, he told the Mercury News, consisted of internal emails and reports by Samsung executives. One internal report spoke of iPhone’s “beautiful design” and “easy to copy” hardware, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. Expert witnesses weren’t as influential. “You can pay people to say what you want them to say,” Hogan told the Mercury News.

Later news coverage revealed that Hogan has a patent that could be used in smartphones.

Jurors found that Samsung infringed six of seven Apple patents for iPhones and iPads, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) says in a separate story. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh could triple the verdict because jurors found willful infringement, but the big issue is whether she will issue a permanent injunction and, if so, how broad it will be, the Recorder reports.

Representing Apple at trial were lawyers from Morrison & Foerster and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. Samsung was represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Samsung’s lawyers tried to show that Apple’s patents weren’t that innovative and had infringed on Samsung patents. The argument “hinged on technical details and points of patent law that legal experts say can be difficult to explain clearly to laypeople,” the Wall Street Journal says. Samsung lawyers ran into problems, however, when Koh ruled that they could not present evidence that Apple’s iPhone was inspired by Sony products.

One observer, Stanford Law School professor Mark Lemley, told the Wall Street Journal that Samsung spent too much time on cross-examination and damages. “Samsung’s patents really looked like an afterthought,” he said. “It also left the impression in the minds of the jurors that Samsung was on the defense.”

Updated on Aug. 29 to refer to later news coverage on Hogan’s patent.

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