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Does the 21 hour deliberation point to a flaw in the jury's thinking?

Posted: , posted by Alan F.

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Does the 21 hour deliberation point to a flaw in the jury's thinking?
Despite the complexity of the Apple v. Samsung patent trial, it took the 9 person jury just 21 hours of deliberations to find in favor of Apple. The jury ruled that Samsung should pay the Cupertino based firm slightly north of $1 billion and ruled that for its counter-claim, Samsung should receive the grand sum of zero from Apple. Not counting the fans of each OS, who obviously have a biased opinion one way or the other, there are some impartial observers who believe that the speed at which the jury came to its decision represents some flaws in how the 7 men and 2 women reached their decision.

In the original decision, the jury awarded damages to Samsung for models that they had ruled Samsung did not infringe on Apple with. For example, the original verdict showed the jury ordering Samsung to pay Apple for infringing on the Cupertino based firm's IP with the Samsung Intercept smartphone and the Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 LTE tablet. The only problem is that the jury ruled that neither device infringed on Apple's patents. The mistake led to a $2.2 million recalculation of the damages in Samsung's favor.

Prior to deliberations, Judge Lucy Koh read through 109 pages of jury instructions that took her more than 2 hours to read. There were more than 700 different questions to be considered. Could the jury had gone through everything they were "instructed" to before deciding that Apple won the case? On Saturday, the day after the verdict was announced, juror Manuel Ilagan told the media that the jury realized on the first day of deliberations that Samsung had harmed Apple.

Despite the judge's instructions to the jury that penalties should be based on compensation and not punishment, jury foreman Velvin Hogan admitted that the jury wanted to send a message to Samsung that was painful for the Korean based tech titan, but not too much to be unreasonable. The jury, said Hogan, wanted to do more than just give Samsung a slap on the wrist. Hogan also told court officials that the jury didn't need the instructions to reach a verdict which could be a major issue during an appeal. You also might recall how Samsung pushed the issue of prior art to defend itself. The jury took hours of Samsung's defense and in the words of juror IIagan, "In fact we skipped that one, so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down." 

Will Judge Koh reverse the verdict based on the jury's actions?
Samsung has said it would appeal, but apparently the executives in Korea are in panic mode. One unnamed suit said that "It’s absolutely the worse scenario for us." The company called an emergency meeting of the heads of corporate strategy, mobile device, and marketing divisions. Apple will seek preliminary injunctions on Samsung devices that the jury ruled infringed on its patents and at the same September 20th hearing, Judge Koh could decide to triple the award.

The main points to consider about the verdict include, how did the jury reach a decision so quickly considering the complexity of the case, the verdict form and the instructions. The failure of the jury to award damages based on compensation, comments made by jury foreman Hogan relating to the jury instructions, the mistake that led to the $2.2 million recalculation and the decision to zip past prior art.

Samsung will be filing a Rule 50(b) motion that will ask Judge Koh to reverse the verdict or reduce the amount of the award based on the idea that no reasonable jury could have reached the conclusion that this jury did based on the evidence presented. Anything can happen although Judge Koh may decide to let the appeals court make the tough decisions.

source: Groklaw via SlashGear

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