Sunday, 26 August 2012

Apple-Samsung juror speaks out

Manuel Ilagan, one of the nine jurors who ruled in favor of Apple, says he thought Samsung's internal e-mails about incorporating some of Apple's technology into its devices, and the evasive way Samsung executives answered questions, was damning.
Apple v. Samsung juror Manuel Ilagan said the nine-person jury that heard the patent infringement case knew after the first day of deliberations that they all agreed Samsung had wronged Apple.
Ilagan said today that the jury had several "heated" debates before reaching its verdict yesterday. He also said nothing in the deliberation process was rushed and that the jury carefully weighed the evidence.
"We found for Apple because of the evidence they presented," Ilagan said. "It was clear there was infringement."
Ilagan said:
The e-mails that went back and forth from Samsung execs about the Apple features that they should incorporate into their devices was pretty damning to me. And also, on the last day, [Apple] showed the pictures of the phones that Samsung made before the iPhone came out and ones that they made after the iPhone came out. Some of the Samsung executives they presented on video [testimony] from Korea -- I thought they were dodging the questions. They didn't answer one of them. They didn't help their cause."
Ilagan said another area where Samsung lost the jury was claiming that Apple violated two of its patents related to 3G wireless technology. One involved the baseband chip in the iPhone and the 3G-equipped iPad. During the trial, Apple showed that Samsung had entered into a licensing agreement with Intel, which built the chips Apple used. Under that deal, Samsung was not able to sue companies that acquired the Intel chips in question. Apple's argument was credible, Ilagan said.
Apple had originally sought $2.75 billion in damages. Though the jury denied some of Apple's claims, the verdict was a major victory for Apple. Samsung, which asked for $421 million in its countersuit, didn't convince the jury that Apple infringed on any of its patents and received nothing in damages.
Ilagan said it wasn't clear the jurors were largely in agreement until after the first day of deliberations.
"It didn't dawn on us [that we agreed that Samsung had infringed] on the first day," Ilagan said. "We were debating heavily, especially about the patents on bounce-back and pinch-to-zoom. Apple said they owned patents, but we were debating about the prior art [about similar technology that Samsung said existed before the iPhone debuted]. [Velvin] Hogan was jury foreman. He had experience. He owned patents 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."
Members had spent three long weeks in court and the fact that they reached their decision just before the weekend also raised suspicions that the jury winged it at the end.
Ilagan denied they tried to hurry the process. He said jury members took their job seriously and didn't take any shortcuts.
"We weren't impatient," Ilagan said. "We wanted to do the right thing, and not skip any evidence. I think we were thorough."
"Once you determine that Samsung violated the patents," Ilagan said, "it's easy to just go down those different [Samsung] products, because it was all the same. Like the trade dress -- once you determine Samsung violated the trade dress, the flat screen with the bezel...then you go down the products to see if it had a bezel. But we took our time. We didn't rush. We had a debate before we made a decision. Sometimes it was getting heated."
According to court documents, trade dress is the "nonfunctional, physical detail and design of a product, which identifies the product's source and distinguishes it from the products of others."

llagan said: "We were debating the unregistered trade dress claims. That took a while because some of the guys wanted to give [Apple] protection to round corners, the icons, and rectangles, but they were not registered. So, some of the jurors said 'Why are we playing patent office? We're not the patent office. It's not even registered.' And some of the jurors, when you look at the combination of those features, said it looks like an Apple. But we didn't want to shut out Samsung from the market because we thought 'OK, well, if Apple had tried to get a patent for all that stuff and didn't, now they wanted us to be the ones to get it for them. We didn't want to do that."
Apple is a Silicon Valley company, where many of the jury members live and work.
"We weren't going for Apple," Ilagan said. "We were going by the judge's instructions on how we should go about it, and we stuck to that. We weren't thinking Apple or Samsung."

"I realized that's a big deal if Samsung can't sell those phones," Ilagan said. "But I'm sure Samsung can recover and do their own designs. There are other ways to design a phone. What was happening was that the appearance [of Samsung's phone] was their downfall. You copied the appearance.... Nokia is still selling phones. BlackBerry is selling phones. Those phones aren't infringing. There are alternatives out there."

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