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Did the Apple vs. Samsung Jury Fail to Properly Do Their Job?

Steven Blum
28

As you probably know by now, jurors in the Apple-Samsung lawsuit decided on Saturday that Samsung had copied Apple and should pay at least $1.049 billion in damages, in what was one of the most sweeping victories for Apple in the company's entire history. But now there's growing evidence that the jury did not properly do their job. Not only were their inconsistencies in their verdict, but there may even be reason to believe they did not properly consider "prior art" as it related to Samsung's arguments against Apple. These issues could bring this incredibly influential court case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Here's what the Apple vs. Samsung jury did wrong:

They Were Inconsistent

This is the first issue. The jury in the Samsung-Apple trial was expected to assign a dollar amount in damages to each phone Samsung was said to have infringed. But there were numerous inconsistencies in the damages rewarded to Apple. The Samsung Intercept, for example, cost Samsung $2 million in damages even though the jury found that the phone hadn't actually infringed. The same is the case for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE – over $219,694 was rewarded for a device that the jury had agreed didn't infringe on any of Apple's patents.

According to the Verge, "The jury found no direct infringement but did find inducement" for the '915 and '163 utility patents. If a device didn't infringe, it would be rather hard for a company to induce said non-existant infringement.

Was it laziness? Did the jury rush? Did they not understand their instructions? These are all questions which will probably be raised over the next days and weeks.

There are also inconsistencies in the decision to award no damages to Apple from the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (which looks substantially similar to the iPad), while rewarding them capriciously for the Epic 4G – a device which has a slide-out keyboard, a curved top and bottom, 4 buttons on the bottom, the word Samsung printed on top, a differently shaped speaker, etc. In other words, a device which looks nothing like the iPhone was found to have infringed more than a device which looks scarily similar to an iPad. What, exactly, was the jury thinking here? Probably they weren't.

They Were Probably Biased from the Start

Then there is the issue of how quickly the jury reached their verdict. Many analysts expected the jury to take a week, but the jury took just a single day to reach their decision. Since the juror instructions were quite long and complex, a quick verdict may signal that the jury had rushed through the steps they needed to take before making their decision. As the legal blog Above the Law puts it, quite humorously:

It would take me more than three days to understand all the terms in the verdict! Much less come to a legally binding decision on all of these separate issues. Did you guys just flip a coin?

Well, it's arguably easy to reach a decision when you know from the outset of the trial which company you think deserves punishment. And juror Manuel Ilgan has already told CNET that much, saying that the nine-person jury "knew after the first day that it believed Samsung had wronged Apple."

But it gets even worse...

They Skipped Evidence Against Apple

Ilagan also admitted to CNET that the jury hadn't really considered prior art – or technology that Apple copied when creating the first iPhone – in their decision. Here's what Ilgan told CNET:

"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."

The wording in the quote above is, admittedly, confusing. But it truly seems as though the jury didn't equally consider evidence against both Apple and Samsung. They looked at one instance of prior art (Samsung's evidence against Apple) and dismissed the rest. In other words, they didn't take Samsung's arguments seriously that Apple copied the "bounce-back" feature from LiveTile when designing the first iPhone. Now I'm not sure what was in the jury's instructions but I'm pretty sure they were told not to dismiss Samsung's evidence outright. That is actually pretty shocking.

What Happens Next?

Samsung, for its part, is appealing the decision. "This decision should not be allowed to stand because it would discourage innovation and limit the rights of consumers to make choices for themselves," Samsung lead lawyer John Quinn said. He also argued that the verdict was by no means the "final word in this case."

Inconsistent, biased and sloppy: you could easily accuse the jury of being all three, and I have no doubt Samsung will. The more the jurors talk to the press, the shadier their reasoning looks to the rest of the world. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the case winds up in the Supreme Court.

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Comments

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  • Stan Jez Aug 26, 2012 Link

    There's a lot of chatter on current forums and Google+ about this very subject. It will be interesting to see how things unfold over the next six months or so. If anything, I'm sure that Samsung aren't going to let this go and even if they have to pay the billion dollars they'll work on a strategy to recoup it (more expensive cost to Apple for making their parts?) Even if this doesn't happen, Samsung will not take this lying down and will double their efforts to outdo Apple whenever possible.
    as an aside,I read a humorous blog about a guy who was using his Samsung notebook in a coffee shop and overheard a lot of customers commenting about the case.what they were effectively saying was that the verdict showed that there's not a great difference between Apple phones and Samsung...except that the Samsung ones are cheaper. They felt that Apple has been screwing them big time in price structure not only on phones, but computers as well. The blogger concluded that it could well be the best money Samsung has spent on advertising.

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  • Eric McBride Aug 26, 2012 Link

    One word: SCANDAL

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  • kss imkum Aug 26, 2012 Link

    I agree Eric !!

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    jeffrey p. Aug 26, 2012 Link

    Apple's American, Samsung Isn't
    The jury was American.
    Not difficult.

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  • Ti Mo Aug 26, 2012 Link

    That explains it, jeffrey. remember when judge koh told apple they smoked crack?

    Yeah, guess what! She has an asian background!

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  • Lieu Aug 26, 2012 Link
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  • Lieu Aug 26, 2012 Link

    As for this article, a couple of points are streched:
    1) Inconsistency in some cases-yes, but not fundamentally
    2) Biased, just because that the jury is mostly convinced by apples story short after the beginning of deliberations, is also biased itself. What about the 3weeks trial before the deliberation. Could they be convinced during the process? As a matter of fact, this jury and the foreman are not on the apple side initially

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  • james farrell Aug 26, 2012 Link

    Apple is already #1, and now they go after Samsung,being #1 in the cell phone/tech world is not good enough for them and I'm sure there products are similar to others that came out first.Apple equals greedy,glad I went with Andriod when I bought my cell phone and tablet.

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  • Iolanta Hilaris Aug 27, 2012 Link

    Sounds terribly! Samsung definitely better. Works fine, simple interface, easy compatible, Apple does not like it. All this scandal is so unfair!

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  • CJ Brown Aug 27, 2012 Link

    SCANDAL - INACCURATE CLAIMS - IMPROPER JURY PROCEDURES ... so many technical issues, terms, specs, etc used in this Court Case that if I was on the Jury I would've taken at least 5 - 6 Business Days to reach a verdict (& I could not submit a reward to Apple for any device that did not infringe on a copywrite and / or patent) ....

    This Court Case needs to be appealed by SAMSUNG & GOOGLE needs to step forward to do their part to ensure a right legal decision is rendered (don't be afraid if Apple removes Google from all their devices & switches to something like "Yahoo only", let them do so & see how quickly iPhone users complain - same goes for Samsung, don't take this sitting down, make it hard for Apple to receive anything Samsung developed as far as hardware goes even if Apple is forced to go to Toshiba whining - let it happen & see how quickly Apple's devices lose their value) ...

    The fact that Consumers are figuring out there are devices on par with Apples (& better) which cost less is an issue that I would bring up in a Court Case (Apple should prove themselves by offering Electronic Goods at lower prices - paying for a brand shouldn't equate raping one's wallet) ...

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  • YanksOnTop Aug 29, 2012 Link

    I wonder how many iPads were in the jury room with the "jurors".. I cant see how this is doing anything for Apple other than slowing down progress and making themselves look like shit.

    Isnt Apple built on "borrowed" technology? They didnt call them Pirates for nothing.. Its the pot calling the kettle black syndrome..

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  • Jeff McComish Aug 29, 2012 Link

    Steve Jobs admitted that Apple steal ideas.Also a decision made in an American court 10 miles from Apple HQ.

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  • David Jones Aug 29, 2012 Link

    This case had nothing to do with Trademark Infringement , It had to do with a California Company using a California Jury to create A Tariff against a Foreign owned company in order to create a monopoly in the tablet mobile phone Industry.
    ANY IDIOT WOULD SEE THIS SHEEH!
    Change of venue to a small town non-California Court..

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  • vernon naicker Aug 29, 2012 Link

    Hendry FORD created the world's first 'production' motor car. How is it that they haven't sued the pants of every other car manufacturer for having an assembly line? Whatever one car manufacturer has invented as new feature or technology, the others have eventually copied, redesigned or developed to do the same thing. How is it they aren't sueing each other endlessly? I follow formula 1 closely. Efficient technology or radical ideas are often copied, levelling the playing fields and pushing the engineers on each side to do even more, even better.

    How is it that Apple gets to sue everybody? Is the message behind that all of the worlds computing should Apple/Intel based? Are the competition supposed to build stuff 30 years old and let the free market system fall into a mono market system? Frankly, I don't get this aside from being a case of sour grapes and ecomonic situations deciding where the money is best 'needed'.

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  • Scott Worne Aug 29, 2012 Link

    This should all be thrown out since Apple has never invented anything but has copied everything from other electronics manufacturers.

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  • Robert Aug 29, 2012 Link

    Maybe the Jury needs to watch "Flash of Genius" detailed instructions on how to decide the case.

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  • Dvoraak Aug 29, 2012 Link

    Let's see.... Google themselves tried to warn Samsung they were dangerously close to infringement. Even a cursory look at pre-iPhone models reveals previous copying of other devices (RIM should have sued their pants off for the Blackjack). Samsung needs to move on and stop looking to other products for inspiration. Got a hit on your hands? Don't let Samsung see it. It's not about whether features are borrowed (copied) or not. It's about designing the whole package to look and act like some other well known product.

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  • Geoffrey S. Aug 30, 2012 Link

    One aspect or another of every product I use has been copied from somewhere. I had toast from a toaster this morning that looks and functions pretty much like every other toaster out there. I boiled some water for my coffee in an electric kettle that looks and functions pretty much the same as every other electric kettle out there. I drove to work in a truck that looks and functions pretty much the same as every other truck out there. The tools that I use in my line of work look a function pretty much the same as all the other tools that people in my line of work are using. I'm typing up this comment on a phone which looks and functions pretty much the same as every other smart phone out there. The bottom line is, if you're looking for a Samsung smart phone and you end up buying an iPhone instead, you deserve to end up out of pocket. If you you're looking to buy an iPhone and you end up purchasing a Samsung instead, YOU WIN! Either way, you need to open you're eyes, but more than that, you need to open your mind, 'coz it's obviously closed if you've made your decision before you make it to a store to check both products out before you make your purchase. And hey, like me, you might actually find there are also other products out there of equal if not better quality than Samsung and Apple. At the moment, both companies have everyone looking exactly where they want you looking. AT THEM.

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  • Raimund Span Aug 30, 2012 Link

    Picking up on what vernon naicker said, it is good that Henry Ford (or even Carl Benz for that matter) didn't patent round wheels as other automobile companies would really have a hard time to design their automobiles without them. (Square wheels?)
    This verdict is really a travesty of justice and I really hate to hear how Apple is gloating.

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  • Jejoma Aug 31, 2012 Link

    As Raimaund Span implies, the elephant in the room is the US. patent system. If those early car designers had used Apple's strategy we'd probably have a choice of four cars now, a Mercedes with a petrol engine, another with a diesel engine one with an electric motor and finally a Stanley Steamer!!

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  • Steven Blum Aug 31, 2012 Link

    Jejoma, I really like that analogy. I may quote you in a future article...

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  • Dvoraak Aug 31, 2012 Link

    The US patent system may be the faulty party here, but how is it MS managed to stear clear of that problem and design their new mobile OS from the ground up without looking at iPhones?
    It's interesting to me that nobody really argues that Samsung didn't copy the iPhone anymore. Now they argue that Samsung should be free to copy or they argue it's justified because many of the concepts used in the iPhone were close to something used in another product. Again, I'd say, it's not about features.... it's about the whole being modeled on another product. In this case Samsung modeled the devices on one that had just turned the mobile industry on it's head.

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  • Steven Blum Aug 31, 2012 Link

    Dvoraak, I would argue Google did the same thing. What did they copy, exactly? The homescreens are completely different, notifications started on Android, the Holo theme is completely unique...I could go on and on.

    It's Samsung's Touchwiz which may have infringed, not Android as a whole. And while I agree with Apple that certain elements, like the icons, and bounce-back feature, were perhaps too closely "inspired" by Apple's design, I reject their claim on all black, rounded rectangular devices.

    So yes, it is possible to steer clear of these issues by designing from the ground up, and that's what Google has done. But if Apple continues to win these suits, it could lead to less innovation in the long run, as smaller firms are afraid to bring a new OS, or even a new app, to the fold, for fear that they'll be sued for millions of dollars.

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  • Dvoraak Aug 31, 2012 Link

    I believe Apple is about to get their wake-up call. The lawsuits aren't good PR. The result in Great Britain must have been embarrassing as hell. Add that to the obvious fact that iOS is stale and due for an overhaul, there's a good chance that Apple isn't going to realize it's sales goals with the iPhone 5. I've had every model since the 3G and even I'm going to buy the Note 2 this year instead.
    However, I don't think the suits will stifle innovation, just the opposite.
    And yes, I honestly believe Samsung has built it's empire (pre and post iPhone) on copying other products (the rectangles with rounded corners were just one symptom of the larger problem, so it was part of the suit but Apple may regret that soon).
    Nobody can argue that Android isn't feature rich, but it's still a very close cousin to iOS and any company implementing it will have to be careful not to look at the iPhone any further than that.
    *edit* It just occurred to me how well Samsung played the PR side of the suit and how poorly Apple has handled it (which is to say not at all). In the end, the money is nothing to either side, the infringing features are easily adjusted and Samsung gets to walk away from it looking like Goliath just had his way with David. Samsung wins.

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  • Jejoma Aug 31, 2012 Link

    No problem Steven, I won't claim copyright :)
    Actually, nothing is really new, it is all built on improvements on someone else's work. I would argue that both Apple and Google "borrowed" heavily from the Symbian OS that in turn was a development of Psion's EPOC OS that came from . . . probably Basic or some such program. Feed into that the Linux input and you have a real mashup.
    The user interphase of Apple is a straight copy of those early Symbian phones before the concept of folders was deemed a better way of organising - I still have arguments with ifans about how folders must be needless since Apple designed the iPhone without them :)
    Very little under the sun is actually new, it's all an improvement on someone else's work. The difference with Apple is that they won't admit it.

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  • Steven Blum Aug 31, 2012 Link

    Jejoma: Agreed.

    Dvoraak: That's an interesting take on how the outcome may look. The fact that Samsung's stock has recently taken a nose dive is a momentary concern, but I have no doubt they'll bounce back. And it definitely is worth noting that even 1 billion is chump change to these companies.

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  • Jejoma Sep 5, 2012 Link

    I see Apple lost the patent argument in Japan. More evidence that the home victory for Apple was just protectionism rather than legal justice.

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  • Renee Rodgers-Frank Sep 7, 2012 Link

    You iPhone people are so predictable ' come on everyone knows that apple sucks and you're all , brain washed and predictable . Android way over exceeds any apple products and you all know it. Apple has no upgrades,its a piece of crap. Get over it. Samsung will surpass any apple crap. Well when you I apple people finally wake up we will be so far gone you won't know what hit you.....

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