Has Samsung Found Its Escape Route From Apple?

Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has found grounds to appeal the ruling in a high-profile U.S. patent trial against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in which a jury awarded the latter $1.05 billion in damages. According to Samsung, the foreman of the jury, Velvin Hogan, did not tell the court before the trial that he was sued in 1993 for breach of contract by Seagate (NASDAQ:STX) the computer storage manufacturer in which Samsung now holds a significant stake. Hogan subsequently filed for personal bankruptcy as a result of that suit, which Samsung says is sufficient reason to believe Hogan held a bias that went undisclosed to the court.

Furthermore, the lawyer who acted for Seagate in the case against Hogan two decades ago is the husband of a partner at Quinn Emanuel, the firm representing Samsung in the recent patent trial, in which a jury led by Hogan found Samsung to have willfully infringed multiple Apple patents, while throwing out all of Samsung’s complaints against the iPhone maker.

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“Mr Hogan’s failure to disclose the Seagate suit raises issues of bias that Samsung should have been allowed to explore in questioning,” Samsung said in a filing published on Tuesday. Samsung said that his silence prevented its legal team from vetoing his participation as a juror, adding that Hogan’s bias only became evident after the jury’s decision, in post-trial media interviews.

“Mr Hogan’s public statements suggest that he failed to answer the court’s question truthfully ‘in order to secure a seat on the jury’, in which case bias is presumed,” Samsung wrote. According to Samsung, Hogan told an interviewer that he wanted to “send a message to the industry at large that patent infringing is not the right thing to do” and “make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist.” Samsung claims Hogan used “incorrect and extraneous legal standards” that had “no place in the jury room.”

So Samsung is calling for Hogan’s conduct in pre-trial questioning to be “fully examined” in a hearing with all jurors, and says it can only be cured “by a grant of new trial.”

Hogan is denying any misconduct, last month telling Bloomberg as much. In a separate interview with Reuters, Hogan said he had not disclosed the case because he was not asked to disclose every case in which he’d been involved, but that he did not blame Samsung for questioning his impartiality. After all, he said, “they’ve got a job to do.”

The next hearing in the case will be held in December.

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