Apple denies Samsung's claim that it withheld juror info

Since losing a $1 billion patent-infringement judgment to Apple, Samsung has accused the jury foreman of withholding important information and suggested Apple knew about it. Apple says the claims are bunk.

Judge Lucy Koh during the reading of the verdict. Vicki Behringer

Samsung is trying to raise doubts about a $1 billion jury verdict that found the company violated Apple's patents, but some of Samsung's new claims are in dispute.

Samsung alleges that the jury decision in August, which found Samsung had infringed Apple's patents involving the iPhone and iPad, was tainted partly because Velvin Hogan, the foreman, withheld information about a lawsuit he was involved in with Seagate, one of Samsung's partners.

Samsung, which also suggested Apple knew about Hogan's conflict with Seagate and withheld the information, demanded that Apple disclose what it knew. On Friday, Apple made its disclosure and said it had no prior knowledge of the litigation in question. Ars Technica was first to report the disclosure.

Writing to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, Apple said: "Apple has not identified any Apple attorney or other member of the Apple litigation teams was aware that Mr. Hogan had been a party to lawsuits involving Seagate until after the conclusion of trial, when Samsung raised the matter in connection with its post-trial motions."

Apple didn't stop there. The company's lawyers took the opportunity to bash the idea that Hogan's lawsuit with Seagate was relevant.

"Apple does not accuse juror Velvin Hogan of misconduct -- because there was none -- so what Apple knew and when regarding Mr. Hogan's lawsuit with Seagate nearly two decades ago is irrelevant to any issue raised by Samsung's post-trial motions. Apple does not contend that any past relationship between Mr. Hogan and Seagate, or any lawsuit between them, is anything remotely close to support a challenge for cause."

Koh has scheduled a hearing for Thursday to address several issues and said she will also "consider the questions" of whether Hogan concealed information during the jury selection process and whether there was any misconduct.

Legal analysts don't expect much to come from this. Courts don't favor allowing attorneys to peek into juror rooms in anything but the most egregious situations.

"I think it's going to be a little tough" to overturn the verdict because of allegations of jury misconduct, Brian Love, a law professor at Santa Clara University who's followed the trial closely, told CNET in September. "You're looking for material or something else coming in that wasn't introduced at trial, a juror reading reports about the case and they're being influenced by outside forces."

During the jury selection process, Koh asked the potential jurors if they had ever been involved in litigation before. Hogan responded that he had and noted a case he was involved in with a former partner. He did not mention the Seagate case.

Since Samsung raised the issue, he has told reporters that the court never asked for a detailed list, only whether the potential jurors had been involved and that he answered truthfully.

Hogan, however, was a very influential member of the jury, even for a foreman. Manuel Ilagan , one of the jury members, told CNET the day after the jury issued its verdict that Hogan helped the jury understand the issues in the case by relating some of his own experiences with acquiring a patent. Samsung has raised questions about this as well.

Check back on Thursday for CNET's coverage of Koh's hearing.

 

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