Earlier today CNET and Reuters published some first hand interviews with jurors from the Apple vs Samsung trial.
Juror Manuel Ilagan told CNET the jury took their time to come up with a final verdict and at times ‘heated’ debates occurred. Moreover, Ilagan notes the jury knew Samsung had infringed on Apple’s patents after the first day in court:
“We found for Apple because of the evidence they presented,” Ilagan said. “It was clear there was infringement.”
What evidence did the jury see as the ‘smoking gun’? Ilagan goes on to say:
“Well, there were several. 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, they 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.”
Apple lawyers during their closing statements zeroed in on the fact Samsung executives failed to personally show up in court to testify, whereas Apple had some of its highest executives on the stand in Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall.
Asked about the ramifications of this major verdict on the smartphone market?
“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.”
Think about all the smartphone competitors out there. Many have their own original designs (Windows Phone) but why do Samsung devices replicate the iPhone look more than the others? I mean, couldn’t RIM just spit out an iPhone killer (oh wait–they tried and failed with the Storm)?
Reuters reports on details regarding the jury’s foreman, 67 year old Velvin Hogan. He also noted the video testimony from Samsung executives convinced the jury the company had infringed on Apple’s patents purposefully:
“We didn’t want to give carte blanche to a company, by any name, to infringe someone else’s intellectual property,”
As for tallying up the final damages, Hogan noted Apple’s calculated demand of $2.75 billion was “extraordinarily high,” based on the unknown fact whether Apple could sell more phones based on component supplies. The jury wanted to ensure Samsung would pay a price for willingly copying Apple’s designs:
We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist,” Hogan said. “We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable.”
Reminder of the exact amount below:
The jury deliberated for less than three days to come up with their decision. The speed at which the verdict was made was accelerated by the fact many members had engineering and legal experience. Hogan himself is an engineer and owns a patent himself.
Some of the attention has turned against Apple in this verdict, as many have argued they should not go after ’rounded corners’ in a rectangle. But let’s step back and look at the bigger picture. What has Samsung created? What sort of smartphone innovations have they come up with? Have they designed a phone or tablet that others have emulated?
I’m all for smartphone competition–but in this case Samsung continued to copy the iPhone and iPad even when Apple warned them to stop (and Google as well). Of course, Samsung appeals will continue until the end of time, so this verdict is far from over.
What your thoughts on what the jury had to say?