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Apple vs. Samsung Juror: “The Jury Knew After the First Day of Deliberations”

Apple vs. Samsung Juror: “The Jury Knew After the First Day of Deliberations”

A juror in the Apple vs. Samsung trial,  Manuel Ilagan, said the jury in the patent infringement case knew after the first day of deliberations that they were all in agreement that Samsung had infringed Apple’s patents.


Ilagan told CNET in an exclusive interview today that the jury had several “heated” debates before reaching its verdict yesterday. He also said nothing in the deliberation process was rushed and that the jury carefully weighed the evidence.

“We found for Apple because of the evidence they presented,” Ilagan said. “It was clear there was infringement.”

When asked to discuss some of the more compelling evidence, Ilagan said there were several. E-mails that went back and forth from Samsung executives about the Apple features they should incorporate into their devices, and the photos showing Samsung devices before the release of the iPhone, and those after. Ilagan also felt that during video testimony from Samsung executives it seemed they were dodging the questions, that they didn’t really answer one question.

Ilaga said Samsung also lost the jury when they claimed Apple had violated two of its patents related to 3G wireless technology. One involved the baseband chip used in the iPhone and 3G equipped iPad. Apple showed that Samsung had entered into a licensing agreement with Intel, who had built the chips Apple used.

The jurors came to their verdict in 21 hours, ruling in favor of Apple on the majority of the company’s claims against Samsung. They awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages.

Even though the jury denied some of Apple’s claims, the verdict was seen as a major victory for Apple. Samsung was not able to convince the jury that Apple infringed on any of its patents and received nothing in damages.

While the decision was one-sided, Ilagan said it was not clear the jurors were in agreement until after the first day of deliberations.

 “It didn’t dawn on us [that we agreed that Samsung had infringed] on the first day,” Ilagan said. “We were debating heavily, especially about the patents on bounce-back and pinch-to-zoom. Apple said they owned patents, but we were debating about the prior art [about similar technology that Samsung said existed before the iPhone debuted]. [Velvin] Hogan was jury foreman. He had experience. He owned patents himself…so he took us through his experience. After that it was easier. After we debated that first patent — what was prior art — because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art.”

Ilagan said the jury skipped that one, “so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down.”

Ilagan denies that the jury hurried the process, saying the members took their jobs seriously, and didn’t take any shortcuts, saying: “We weren’t impatient, we wanted to do the right thing, and not skip any evidence. I think we were thorough.”

He commented that the deliberation process went faster once all the jury members agreed that Apple’s patents were infringed.

During the deliberation process, each of the jurors contributed some type of expertise or played a role to help the process move forward smoothly. The jury’s foreman had once went through the lengthy process of obtaining a patent, the two women on the jury helped keep the discussion on track, and one of the jurors is a project manager with AT&T and he helped the group add up the damages, Ilagan said.

When asked if the jury understood that this was a major case and what the ramification of its decision could be on the market, Ilagan said, he realized it was a big deal if Samsung couldn’t sell the devices in question, but that he was sure Samsung could recover and do their own designs.

“What was happening was that the appearance [of Samsung’s phone] was their downfall. You copied the appearance…. Nokia is still selling phones. BlackBerry is selling phones. Those phones aren’t infringing. There are alternatives out there.”