Saturday, 25 August 2012 10:28

Verdict in the Samsung V Apple Case Shows Serious Flaws In the System and Predisposition in the Jury

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Last night the verdict was handed down from the jury in the Samsung V Apple and in a staggering leap of logic the 9 person jury found for that Samsung was guilty of willful infringement on the majority of patents that Apple presented, but that Apple had not infringed at all on the Samsung patents. Then they found that Samsung was not-guilty of Anti-Trust behavior for those attempting to enforce those same patents.  Although our initial reaction was shock, after reading the details of the verdict and taking into account how the trial was handled by Judge Lucy Koh we were actually not surprised.

If you remember at the end of the trial during Apple’s summation they attempted to hammer home that Samsung did not being in any witnesses to refute Apple’s claims on their design or utility patents.  Although the jury was never to know this, the reason for that was because Apple blocked them at every turn. During the trial Apple prevented one of their own designers from testifying in the case that Apple used information presented by a Sony designer as inspiration. They had been trying to prevent him from testifying from the very beginning and Judge Koh allowed this block on critical evidence that would have rendered some of Apple’s design patents useless as they would have shown Apple took them from other companies’ ideas.

This was the game that Judge Koh played throughout the trial; banning key evidence from the jury including images showing the iPad and iPhone concept in movies long before Apple started work on their own designs while seeming to give Apple quite a bit of license with the information they presented. Still we expect the jury went in with a predisposition towards Apple in the first place.  When I first looked over the amended verdict (we will get to that in a moment) it looked like there was no deliberation at all. The writing on the form indicates that they did not take any time, but just went in and checked off all of the Samsung products, but threw in a few for good measure.  One that caught my eye in particular was the claims on the ‘163 patent (tap to zoom). The jury found that the Fascinate did infringe on this, but not the Gem. These two phones are nearly identical in their function, the same thing can be said for the Intercept (which we have in the lab). It would appear that the jurors chose the phones that had names that stuck in their head. The Gem and Intercept were not well known and did not sell in large quantities.

Other utility patents that the jury found Samsung guilty of were the ‘381 or rubber band paten and the 915 pinch to zoom patent (even though pinch to zoom was shown in devices that existed long before Apple filed for the patent). All three of these claims were countered in the court room by graphic designers and developers.  The fact that the jury found any infringement showed a lack of common sense or a desire to “protect America” from an evil foreign company.

In terms of design patents we found the jury’s decisions there even more confusion and shows a lack of consideration or preponderance of the evidence presented. For example they found the Galaxy S II (all of them) guilty of violating the D’677 patent which covers the front of a phone. Yet the front of the Galaxy S II does not resemble the iPhone. There is no home button, the oblong ear hole is higher than the one represented in the D’677 patent and let’s not forget that the screen and phone is significantly larger. The same jury then turned around and found the S II was not infringing on the D’087 patent which claims the ornamentation and sides of the phone. In the case of the D’305 patent the jury found that every single Samsung device infringed on Apple’s patent, I wonder how they arrived at that with clear evidence shown from devices that predate not only the launch of the iPhone, but the original concept of both the iPhone and the iPad. The decision makes no sense at all the two patents are overlapping and rely on each other. This does not even cover the fact that Apple should not be able to patent a flat screen at all, but it does show that a good deal of thought went into making it appear like there was deliberation.

The jury did make one decision that appears to show they knew they could not simply sweep the board though. While they upheld all of Apple’s design patents (despite a large amount of prior art paraded through the court room) they did not find that the Galaxy Tab violated the D’889 patent which covers the look of the iPad.

The majority of Apple’s trade dress was also upheld as valid, but the jury did not find that many phones or devices violated it. We were actually a little surprised at this point to see that they did not Christmas tree this section.  

Getting down to the damages portion of the worksheet you will see that the jury had no clue what phones they selected as they did not find that Samsung owed money on a phone they claimed was infringing, but added in two devices that they found were not infringing! Some sites yesterday called this a simple oversight, but to me it shows negligence on the part of the jury and that its decision is flawed and is not a true preponderance of the evidence shown. For example the jury found that the Galaxy Ace (JX 1030) infringed on the‘163 and the‘381 patents, but awarded no damages.  Meanwhile they found that the Galaxy S (i9000), the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (4G LTE (JX 1038) and the Intercept (JX 1009) did not infringe on Apple’s patents, but awarded damages before being sent back to correct their “mistake”.

When it came down to Samsung’s patents the jury found they were valid, that Samsung did not violate its obligation to claim their patents in the creation of the 3G Standard and that Samsung did not violate Anti-Trust. However, they claimed that Apple did not infringe on the patents because they are exhausted. Apple tried to prove this when they asked if Samsung had asked for royalties from any other company on their claimed patents.

In all the verdict showed a lack of understanding of the patent system, a predisposition towards Apple, (who was viewed as the home town hero), and disregard for the actual evidence presented (which shows a clear lack of understanding of the concept of prior art). It really appears that the jury upheld patents because they through they only counted when it comes to phones or tablets which meant that they narrowed to their observation of prior art. This allowed them to ignore the majority of the evidence that would have invalidated the patents that Apple claimed. The Diamond Touch table clearly showed pinch to zoom and other multi-touch gestures, but Apple’s lawyers asked the jury to ignore that by narrowing their focus to the phone world even saying “can you imagine making at call on that?”. In all it looks like the Jury spent most of their time trying to figure out what they felt Samsung owed Apple and not on actually deliberating the evidence presented. From the start the trial was a setup they put a judge of Korean descent in charge of a trial with a “US” company against a Korean Company. When she tried to follow the rules of Law she was overturned and required to grant bans on products that in the end were not even found in violation of most of Apple’s claimed patents (the D’889 patent). From there Judge Koh worked very hard to ensure that the jury was exposed to only the evidence that she and Apple wanted them to hear. At the point she denied the request to admit the evidence of the Sony design Samsung knew they were working in a kangaroo court, so their tactics turned to presenting Judge Koh’s actions as restrictive and hindering their efforts to defend themselves. They have done this quite well and we are sure that they will file an appeal.

Meanwhile Apple will gloat about this and the majority of the US press will report on it as a glorious victory for Apple. We have already seen the headlines claiming that Google is next which is interesting considering the fact that Google, through Motorola. Has already launched the first attack on Apple with the ITC and while the ITC found that Apple did not infringe on one standards essential patent they do feel the original trade judge needs to review his decision about one non-standards patent that he earlier claimed that Apple did not infringe. So Apple has a few more patents held by Google and Motorola to get through before they are out of the water and as of right now Google/Motorola is asking for a full ban if the products are found infringing.

What is most interesting is that this jury blindly found Apple to be in the right while the rest of the world is waking up to the truth of Apple’s patents. In Korea Samsung and Australia Samsung was found not to have infringed these patents while in the UK Apple is facing a penalty of being required to publish that Samsung did not copy Apple on their website and in a few publications due to their public statements about Samsung before and during the trial. In the end it looks like this jury was attempting to protect “American Innovation” and the home town hero when in fact all they did was to show ignorance of the legal aspects of the trial and of the larger situation. Apple has no factories or warehouses in the US for the manufacture of their products, all of these are overseas and were sent there by Tim Cook. In the meantime Samsung has multiple factories in the US and is even dumping 4 Billion into improving one in Texas. Apple may feel that this verdict upholds their claims and the US patent system when in reality all it does is show US ignorance and how truly broken the US patent and justice system really is.

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Amended Verdict Apple Samsung

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