What happens when an entity loses a court battle in the United States? They appeal, of course. When Samsung lost Apple v Samsung and was handed a $1 billion fine in late August, we knew they would appeal. To no one’s surprise, appeal they have. What is a bit surprising, however, is their appeal strategy.
Anyone that followed the Apple v Samsung aftermath probably saw Velvin Hogan, the foreman of the jury that decided Samsung’s fate, give multiple interviews to the media. In the interviews Hogan made multiple comments in regards to how the jury made up their mind, what they wanted to accomplish, what Hogan’s role was in the whole thing, etc. Aside from Hogan, at least one other juror has given a recount of what happened in the jury room. Samsung’s appeal strategy is focused on using the comments of Hogan and the other juror to push for a retrial.
More specifically, Samsung is flat out calling Hogan a liar. The three main points Samsung’s lawyers make are:
- Hogan mislead the jury. Hogan told the jurors “design patents are based on look and feel” and “prior art must be interchangeable in order to invalidate a patent”. According to Samsung, not only are these “incorrect and extraneous legal standards” (i.e. Hogan is wrong) but also these statements “had no place in the jury room”.
- Hogan lied to the court. Hogan was asked if he was involved in a lawsuit in the past ten years, and he declared was involved in one. Hogan failed to mention that he was sued by Seagate, a driver manufacturer that is partly owned by Samsung, in 1993. This lawsuit resulted in Hogan and his wife filing for bankruptcy. Aside from the obvious act of lying to the court, Samsung feels this Seagate lawsuit has made Hogan biased against Samsung, and, if Hogan had revealed it during voir dire (the legal process when jurors are selected for a trial), Samsung would have asked for his removal.
- Hogan did not disclose his pro-patent feelings when asked by the court prior to the start of the trial. Samsung says Hogan was silent when asked by the court about potential “strong feelings” about the American patent system yet he later told The Verge that “except for my family, it [jury service] was the high point of my career… you might even say my life”, and “that this trial was fair, and protected copyrights and intellectual property rights, no matter who they belonged to”. Samsung says these are not the words of someone who has no “strong feelings” about the patent system.
Samsung, of course, makes other arguments in its appeal but the above three points are what Samsung is focusing on. Based on the points, Samsung not only wants a new trial but also wants its $1.05 billion fine greatly reduced, in case a new trial is not granted.
Hogan, for his part, is denying any wrong doing; he tells Bloomberg:
Had I been asked an open-ended question with no time constraint, of course I would’ve disclosed that. I’m willing to go in front of the judge to tell her that I had no intention of being on this jury, let alone withholding anything that would’ve allowed me to be excused.
I answered every question the judge asked me and Samsung had every opportunity to question me.
Hogan mentions that the reason he has shown so much pride in the trial and verdict is because the lawsuit is related to electrical engineering, the field he has been in for roughly 40 years. Hogan also questions Samsung’s motives; he wants to know how Samsung only learned of the Seagate lawsuit now and why they didn’t know about it during jury selection because, as Samsung mentions, Samsung learned of the lawsuit through Diane M. Doolittle, a partner in Quinn Emanuel (the firm that represented Samsung in the trial), who is married to the attorney that sued Hogan for Seagate in 1993, Michael F. Grady. The obvious implication by Hogan is that Samsung knew about the Seagate trial but held the information back to use during an appeal, in case they lost the case.
Now I’m no lawyer but the two points Samsung makes about Hogan misleading the jury and having potential bias against Samsung sound significant enough to grant Samsung a new trial. Let’s see what happens.