A federal judge has denied Samsung's request for dismissal of Apple's verdict and for a new trial based on allegations of jury misconduct, saying Samsung should have done more work during jury questioning.
In seeking to have Apple's $1 billion verdict arising from software patents on mobile devices overturned, the South Korean electronics giant argued 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, as well as an alleged bias made evident by statements made to the media after the verdict. Samsung said Hogan should have revealed to the judge during jury selection that he had been sued by Seagate -- his former employer -- which led to his filing for personal bankruptcy in 1993.
"Samsung has a substantial strategic relationship with Seagate, 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 company said in its October motion. "Mr. Hogan's failure to disclose the Seagate suit raises issues of bias that Samsung should have been allowed to explore in questioning."
Samsung also pointed to statements Hogan made in a post-verdict interview with Reuters in which he said "the jury 'wanted to send a message to the industry at large that patent infringing is not the right thing to do, not just Samsung,'" and that the "message [the jury] sent was not just a slap on the wrist."
However, in denying the request, Lucy Koh, the U.S. District Court judge presiding over the patent case, noted that anything Hogan said about legal standards used during deliberations, or the jurors' mental process, were barred by federal evidence rules. The 20-page judgment (see below) was part of a pair of rulings Koh handed down in the lawsuit late this evening. She also denied Apple's bid to ban a number of Samsung's devices from sale in the U.S.
"Even if the standards related by Mr. Hogan were completely erroneous, those statements would still be barred, by Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) and cannot be considered in deciding whether to hold an evidentiary hearing," Koh said.
In regards to the disclosure issue, Koh blamed Samsung for not asking Hogan the proper questions to reveal any alleged bias against Seagate.
"Samsung could have uncovered the Seagate lawsuit, or at least Mr. Hogan's feelings regarding Seagate, had it exercised reasonable diligence in questioning Mr. Hogan during its allotted time in voir dire," she said. "Moreover, even without asking Mr. Hogan directly, Samsung could have exercised reasonable diligence outside of trial and could have discovered the lawsuit by requesting the bankruptcy file, exactly as Samsung did later, when it became motivated to do so."
CNET has contacted Samsung for comment and will update this report when we learn more.
The orders represent the first major ones to come out of the court since the trial wrapped up in August. Still expected is a ruling from Koh that could change the damages tally. During the three-and-a-half-hour hearing earlier this month, Apple made its bid to increase damages while Samsung predictably argued to lower them.