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Samsung claims Apple patent verdict tainted by jury foreman

Korean electronics giant argues that the foreman failed to reveal he was once sued by former employer Seagate, a company in which Samsung is a major investor.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read
Samsung wants Apple's billion-dollar verdict thrown out, arguing it was tainted by the jury foreman's failure to disclose previous litigation with Seagate Technology, a company in which Samsung is a major investor.

Jury foreman Velvin Hogan was asked during jury selection about his involvement in lawsuits and should have revealed to the judge he had been sued by Seagate -- his former employer -- which led to his filing for personal bankruptcy in 1993, Samsung argued in a court filing Tuesday, according to a Bloomberg account.

"Samsung has a substantial strategic relationship with Seagate," the company said in its motion, "which culminated last year in the publicized sale of a division to Seagate in a deal worth $1.375 billion, making Samsung the single largest direct shareholder of Seagate."

The electronics giant is seeking to have dismissed an overwhelmingly one-sided verdict handed down on August 24 by a San Jose, Calif., jury that found Samsung liable for about $1.05 billion in damages arising from software patents on mobile devices.

"Mr. Hogan's failure to disclose the Seagate suit raises issues of bias that Samsung should have been allowed to explore in questioning," Samsung said in a filing.

Samsung had previously argued that interviews given to news organizations by jurors in the landmark case provide evidence of misconduct serious enough to have influenced the verdict.

In an interview with CNET a day after a verdict, juror Manuel Ilagan said that Hogan used his understanding of the process from his own experience with patents to sway the jury. "Hogan was jury foreman," Ilagan said. "He had experience. He owned patents himself...so he took us through his experience. After that it was easier."

Despite juror instructions that jurors must "decide the case solely on the evidence before you," Hogan told Bloomberg TV that "some were not sure of how prior art could either render a patent acceptable or whether it could invalidate it. What we did is we started talking about one... (I) laid it out for them."

CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for December.