SAN JOSE — A key moment for jurors in Apple and Samsung’s latest courtroom showdown came nearly one month into trial.
Attorneys for Apple played a videotape deposition in which a Google lawyer confirmed that the Mountain View search company had stepped up to defend Samsung against infringement allegations for two of the patents in the case. For the eight-member panel, the deposition buttressed Samsung’s argument that it was caught in the crosshairs of a larger fight between Apple and Google.
“I think it woke us all up,” jury foreman Thomas Dunham said in an interview Monday.
The former IBM executive and his peers on the federal jury finalized their $119.6 million award to Apple on Monday. Though it received a fraction of the $2.2 billion it requested, Apple still netted far more at trial than Samsung, which walked away with $158,400 in damages.
But the narrative advanced by Samsung’s lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan seemed to resonate more with the panel. The South Korean company sought to portray Apple’s charges as an indirect strike against rival Google and that’s what had jurors talking as they debriefed journalists on their deliberations.
For their part, Apple’s lawyers at Morrison & Foerster and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr insisted that the case was squarely between the Cupertino-based company and Samsung, but jurors were not swayed, the foreman said.
“If you really feel that Google is the cause behind this, then don’t beat around the bush,” Dunham said. “The truth will come out in cases if they decide to go head to head.”
The jury clearly tried to get to the bottom of Google’s role after the trial wrapped last week, with notes asking for details about what Apple’s late CEO, Steve Jobs, said about the current case. “Was Google mentioned,” the panel asked in one note to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh.
“It was basically, what was the motivation behind the litigation?” juror Margarita Palmada, a 69-year-old Santa Clara resident, said of the notes.
Koh rejected the request, reminding jurors that they were limited to the evidence introduced in trial. Palmada said Google’s role did not influence jurors’ findings on damages and patent infringement, though they sought to understand the dynamic between the companies better.
Dunham, a soft-spoken retiree who restores classic cars, said he and his peers were just trying to find an amount that would be fair to both sides.
“We didn’t have to decide any kind of punitive piece,” Dunham reminded reporters.
He sung a far different tune than his predecessor. Jury foreman Velvin Hogan, a San Jose electrical engineer, beat the war drums after the first trial, saying in interviews that the verdict was meant to send a message about the consequences of copying.
Samsung accused him of concealing his strong views about intellectual property during jury selection so he could land a seat on the panel. The company singled him out in its motion to overturn the 2012 verdict.
But Samsung seems unlikely to pick a bone with Dunham. The company praised the verdict in a statement Monday.
“We agree with the jury’s decision to reject Apple’s grossly exaggerated damages claim,” a Samsung spokeswoman wrote in an email. “Although we are disappointed by the finding of infringement, we are vindicated that for the second time in the U.S., Apple has been found to infringe Samsung’s patents.”
Samsung’s lead lawyer John Quinn said the company will work to scale back Apple’s award even further on appeal.
“They got 6 percent of what they asked for,” the Quinn Emanuel partner said in an interview. “We’re confident that’s going to go to zero. There’s really no evidence in the record to support this.”
The proper bill was difficult for the jury to discern, with Apple requesting nearly $2.2 billion in damages and Samsung insisting that it should pay no more than $38 million, Dunham said.
“We didn’t really feel either one was a fair and just compensation,” he said.
Palmada, a retired Spanish teacher, said jurors made use of a whiteboard to master the complex technology at issue. The group found that Samsung infringed two of Apple’s patents for “quick links” that flag phone numbers in content and the slide-to-unlock gesture. They also decided that Apple infringed one of Samsung’s patents for photo albums.
Dunham suspects he was chosen as foreman because of his background supervising developers as a software executive at IBM. But after a monthlong master course in smartphones and tablets, he is eager for a respite from the technology.
The trial has “helped me decide on my next phone—a landline rotary dial,” he quipped.
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