According to Velvin Hogan, the 67-year-old foreman of the jury in the U.S. trial between the Apple and Samsung, one of the turning points in group’s journey to a verdict came after some deep thinking at home.
“I was at home thinking about that patent claim by claim, I had what we would call an aha! moment,” Hogan told Bloomberg TV in an interview this afternoon. “I suddenly decided I could defend this if it was my patent — I took that story back to the jury and laid it out for them and then we meticulously went patent by patent and claim by claim against the test that the judge had given us.”
The patent in question was Samsung’s ‘460 patent, which covers the capability to take a photo, review it in a gallery application, then pop it into an e-mail. Hogan says the group originally hit a snag in the decision-making process when some jurors became confused at how exactly it worked.
Hogan went on the program to talk about what went on behind the scenes leading up to the jury decision that ruled in Apple’s favor, and tallied up a $1.05 billion damages bill for Samsung. That included a defense to a comment Hogan had made in an earlier interview, where he said the group did not just want to give Samsung a slap on the wrist with its damages tally.
“In this country intellectual property deserves to be protected,” he said. “My real point was that if anyone, the industry at large, if any company decides to ignore the stipulations and the rules, and get too close that they infringe and do it willfully, they need to understand if they take the risk and they get caught, they should have to pay for it.”
Hogan’s appearance was the first televised interview of a jury member involved with the case. Like an incognito rock band, the nine-person group left the court building via a secret exit last week, leaving reporters in a lurch. However that did not keep some of its members from speaking to press, including an exclusive CNET interview with jury member Manuel Ilagan, who the next day discussed the inner-workings of the group during its 21 hours of deliberations.
For Hogan, the interview was not his first. He spoke with both Reuters and the San Jose Mercury News on Saturday, stressing that the group took its task “very seriously,” without speeding through the 20-page verdict form. Some called the quick turnaround into question given the complexity of the patent infringement claims, and number of devices involved.
Hogan defended the speed of the decision, saying U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh had laid out the form in a way that helped them get through if faster.
Despite Friday’s verdict, there are still numerous moving pieces ahead, including appeals from either side, as well as any injunctions on the infringing products. Apple, for its part, filed to have eight of Samsung’s phones banned from sale in the U.S. earlier today. Hogan pointed out that that proposed ban did not include all of the products that were found to infringe.
“The thing everyone should remember, is that not all of Samsung’s devices, phones in particular, infringed property rights,” Hogan said. “There are other ways they can accomplish something. Nokia is an example. Blackberry is an example. Motorola is an example.”
Some other tidbits from the interview include the fact that none of the members of the jury had an iPhone. Judge Koh had asked what device potential jurors owned during the selection process, along with whether it would affect any decisions. Hogan also noted that the decision-making process had also turned him onto the idea of patenting designs, something he originally did not agree with.
“When that decision was made by Congress to have the (Patent Trademark Office) allow designs and trade dress, I wasn’t sure I supported that,” Hogan said. “When I compared the patent law against the accused products…it was clear not only to me but also the jury that they were too close in their feel and function.”