Jury Foreman Omission May Cost Apple $1 Billion Verdict
Remember that mind-boggling billion dollar verdict Apply won against Samsung two months ago? The comments sections of tech blogs everywhere read like pitched battle zones for weeks, as Android and iOS lovers lobbed insults at each other’s knowledge, background, intelligence and personal tastes.
Tech sector speculators began carving up Android’s future immediately after the verdict was handed down, warning that mobile device manufacturers might rapidly back away not only from design features or interface improvements that even remotely looked like an Apple product, but also from the Android operating system itself. There appeared to be blood in the water.
Samsung has threatened appeal, but based on recent revelations by the embattled company, the verdict might just get thrown out.
Ever since the verdict, there has been a lot of focus on the jury’s foreman, Velvin Hogan (photo, above), who didn’t hide the fact that his engineering background, knowledge of patent law and tech-related experience was relied upon heavily by the rest of the jury. It’s understandable, given the very complicated nature of patent law and the sheer volume of information provided to them, that the jury would turn to its more technically proficient members.
But did Hogan have an axe to grind? Samsung thinks so, and has stepped forward with potentially damaging information related to the jury foreman.
According to Samsung representatives, Hogan was sued in 1993 by Seagate Technologies over repayment of monies provided him for house payments. Hogan lost the case and subsequently he and his wife filed for bankruptcy. Seagate Technologies is partially owned by Samsung, so if Hogan harbored a desire to hurt his former employer, being chosen for a Samsung-related lawsuit was certainly the right place at the right time.
Apple had successfully fought during the voir dire, or jury selection process, to remove another potential juror based on his background as a Google engineer, having worked on patented technology for YouTube, Adwords and Android. It is through the Android operating system that Google has a partnership with Samsung, so the engineer’s removal makes perfect sense.
As was the case with Hogan, the Google engineer worked for a company that was not part of the lawsuit, but clearly had a background tied to a party in the lawsuit. With the engineer,, there was no evidence to show he would have a personal issue with Apple. With Hogan, however, a motive to cause damage could (and likely would) clearly have been drawn by attorneys representing Samsung, had he mentioned the 1993 lawsuit during voir dire.Continued on the next page