New details have emerged about Samsung’s claims of juror misconduct in the recent trial with Apple. It seems that the jury foreman, Velvin Hogan, failed to disclose a lawsuit and a personal bankruptcy when he was questioned during jury selection. The experienced electrical engineer spoke about a trial with a former employee of his over software ownership and he mentioned a patent he holds related to “video compression software”. What he didn’t mention was being sued by former employer, Seagate Technology Inc. and filing for bankruptcy in 1993.
Seagate and Samsung have a “strategic alignment” that means Seagate drives are used in Samsung laptops and Samsung semi-conductors go into Seagate SSDs. As part of the deal, Samsung actually sold its HDD business to Seagate in 2011. Samsung said in its filing, “Mr. Hogan’s failure to disclose the Seagate suit raises issues of bias that Samsung should have been allowed to explore in questioning.”
According to Bloomberg, Hogan explained in a phone interview yesterday that there was no misconduct. He says jurors were instructed to disclose litigation from the last ten years and the Seagate case and bankruptcy were outside that time limit. There isn’t actually any mention of a ten year limit in the transcript. Hogan also pointed out that one of Samsung’s lawyers is married to the lawyer who filed against him at Seagate, so how could Samsung not have known about this? Hogan wonders if Samsung “let me in the jury just to have an excuse for a new trial if it didn’t go in their favor.”
We asked Stanley M. Gibson, an experienced technology and IP trial lawyer at Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell, about this action by Samsung and he told us, “these are always difficult issues to win and expect the Court to want to understand when Samsung had this information. If it was before the trial was over, why did they wait?” He also suggested it will be interesting to see, “whether Judge Koh will hear this issue earlier than December since it involves a private citizen who served on the jury and the press coverage is, obviously, intense. Deciding the issue sooner, would put an end to it.”
It’s no surprise that Samsung is determined to challenge the verdict which resulted in a $1.05 billion verdict for Apple. We reported on developments between the two electronics giants since the California jury returned a victorious verdict for Apple. While the Cupertino company seeks more damages and sales bans, Samsung has been pushing for a mistrial. We also saw Samsung add the iPhone 5 to another patent infringement suit it is bringing against Apple. That one concerns infringement of eight patents and Samsung is pushing for sales bans on several Apple devices.
The patent war rages on.