How qualified is the Apple-Samsung jury? We found out

CNET dug through court transcripts and our own notes to learn how tech-savvy the jury is. It may surprise you.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
5 min read
Spoiler alert. While the jury's verdict could help decide the fate of the iPhone and numerous Samsung handsets, the phone maker most preferred on the jury was LG. Josh Long/CNET

Complete coverage: Apple v. Samsung, a battle over billions

The nine-person jury in the Apple v. Samsung case decided one of the tech sector's most significant patent cases -- and only one member has any experience with patents.

The verdict in the case could go a long way toward shaping the future of the smartphone and tablet markets, and of the nine jurors, only four own a smartphone. Three own tablets.

Still, the jury, which has now reached a verdict (our live blog is here), wasn't necessarily made up of tech novices either. Four of them have worked for technology companies, including Intel and AT&T. One worked for a hard-drive company. There are two engineers and one member owns multiple Samsung and Apple products.

Last year, Apple claimed in a lawsuit that Samsung violated some of the designs and technology that made up the iPhone and iPad. Samsung has denied this and countersued, accusing Apple of infringing on some of its patents.

The jury was chosen July 30, and today rendered its verdict.

To decide the case, the members faced a daunting task: there were more than 700 questions regarding alleged infringement by both companies, and many involved highly technical issues. They were able to do it in two-and-a-half days.

The complexity of patent law and of the issues in the case raised questions about how qualified the jury members were to determine who is at fault. We pored over the trial transcripts and dove into public records to see how much the Apple-Samsung jury may know about technology.

Here's what we found:

Older, educated, with diverse interests
The jury is made up of seven men and two women. Their ages run from the early 20s to the late 60s. Public records show that at least five of the jurors are 50 or older. One juror is 30-something, one is 20-something, and the ages of the other jurors could not be ascertained.

Lucy Koh, the U.S. District Court judge presiding over the case, screened the group out of a larger pool. She asked about what gadgets they owned, their occupations, their experience with the legal system and patents and whether they knew anyone who worked at the companies in question.

Court transcripts indicate that this is largely an educated jury. Six graduated from college and three earned graduate degrees. Two other members spent some time in college without earning a degree.

Three of the jurors were born in other countries: two in the Philippines and one in India.

The jurors were also asked about their hobbies. There's one inventor, a person who restores cars, a gardener, an avid reader, a musician, and a video-game player.

Apple v. Samsung judge and jury
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh talks to the jury in the Apple v. Samsung trial. Vicki Behringer

With regard to their occupations, there's a bike-shop manager, an electrical engineer, a municipal worker, a human-resources consultant, a sales and marketing executive, a social worker, and a network-operations employee.

One man told the judge that he has experience testing the quality of lunch boxes. Two of the jury members are unemployed.

To be sure, there don't appear to be many hard-core techies on the jury.

Not obsessed with tech
When asked to describe the way they use the Internet, six said they have Facebook accounts but only one person uses Twitter. No one blogs. Four jury members said they spend much of their time online using e-mail. Six told the court they use search engines a significant amount of the time, while one jury member said he uses the Internet to play video games.

When it comes to their gear, the jurors generally are not on the bleeding edge. One member owns an iPhone and no one owns a Samsung smartphone. However, two of them own Samsung feature phones. One of the unemployed jurors said he doesn't own a mobile phone.

Interestingly, LG is a popular phone maker with the jury. Three of the jurors own LG phones and the last handset owned by the juror currently without a mobile phone was an LG. Two jurors own Android phones.

The juror with the most gadgets owns an LG Android phone, a Kindle Fire tablet, a MacBook, and an iPod Touch. This person also owns a TV and a DVD player made by Samsung. One female juror told the court during jury selection that she was considering buying an iPad.

When asked why, the woman juror responded: "I love the technology. I mean, you could sit around in the yard and play with it. Apple comes out with really, really nice stuff."

Finally, one juror seems to have more experience in key areas than the others. This juror has been on three previous juries, including at least two that involved civil litigation. He also has experience with patent registration and litigation.

Only one other member has served on a jury before and no other member had any previous involvement with patents.

This juror with the patent and jury experience told the court that he owned a startup during the previous decade. The company filed for and was eventually issued a patent concerning video-compression software. CNET found records that showed the man's company also worked on optical lens technology to improve the viewing quality of television monitors. The man said the company eventually "went belly up."

He is one of two members of the jury to personally participate in litigation. One of the people connected to his business sued him over ownership rights to a piece of technology. Another juror sued a dentist in small claims court.

You can follow the reading of the verdict on our live blog. To see our full coverage, click on the link below.

Complete coverage: Apple v. Samsung, a battle over billions

CNET's Josh Lowensohn contributed to this report.