Sep 5th, 2012

Today, the now famous jury foreman in the Apple vs Samsung patent trial sat down for an online interview with the readers of Gizmodo. They asked Velvin Hogan their most pressing questions involved in the case and like most anyone familiar with the tech industry — the questions got real good. Here’s some of the better ones as highlighted by Groklaw:

Demon-Xanth: Did you have the opportunity to ask “Is this something that should be patentable?” during the trial?

Velvin Hogan: @Demon-Xanth – No, however it was not the function of this jury to ask that. We were bound to use the law as it is today. The patents were issued the judge instructed us not to second guess the current patent system.

Apparently, it was expected of the jury to ask, “Is this patent even valid?” before coming to a decision of supposed infringement. If the patent isn’t even valid, then it can’t be infringed upon. Looks like the jury foreman was, once again, clueless.

When it came to whether or not he believed a company should be allowed to patent basic geometric shapes (a rounded rectangle for instance) he answers yes, only to later get pounded by another reader for wrongly answering that prior art didn’t exist because it wasn’t “interchangeable”:

Wanhang: Why did you choose to ignore prior art despite it being a legitimate claim?

Velvin Hogan: @Wanhang – I is not ignore prior art yes it was legitimate, however it was not interchangeable therefore it did not invalidate Apples patents….Under the current law the prior art must be among other things interchangeable. the prior art sighted even Samsung does not currently use. Read the law and the statues covering Prior art.

Firewheels: @Velvin Hogan – You’re suggesting, then, that the patent is on the particular implementation, not the overall concept? In that case, isn’t it clear that in many of the patents no infringement is possible, as clearly an implementation in Java (Android) is distinct from an implementation in Objective-C (iOS)?

If, however, you’re suggesting the patent is on the concept, then clearly there IS prior art, and therefore the patents are invalid. Either way, Samsung should not have been charged the exorbitant punitive damages you clearly believed were due.

Although I’m not a legal professor or analyst, I’m not sure how much if this dialog — if anything at all — can be used as any sort of evidence for Samsung’s appeal. But there you have it, folks. The words of a man who managed to convince fellow jurors of Samsung’s wrong doing, costing a company a billion dollars and some change, while single-handedly paving the way for more lawsuits to come.

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