A California court recently ruled in favor of Apple in a high-profile patent case against Samsung, and the immediate fallout means that Samsung is forced to pay Apple over $1 billion in damages. Federal Judge Lucy Koh will hold an injunction hearing in December to see if Apple is permitted to ban several Samsung phones from being sold in the United States.
The court’s decision was by no means a simple one, as this Apple vs. Samsung case is considered the most important tech patent lawsuit in history. That’s why every bit of the ruling process is being put under the microscope, including Jury Foreman Vel Hogan, the man who led the jury to rule against Samsung last Friday.
A new report reveals that a possible conflict of interest could have affected the case’s ruling.
Hogan himself owns a patent that can be used in mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, reports Asian News International:
Velvin Hogan reportedly filed documents with the US Patent Office in 2002 for the ‘method and apparatus for recording and storing video information’.
This also included technology for a wireless keyboard to allow users to surf the web and order films on demand, a feature, which is already available on Apple iPads.
Here’s how Hogan explained his process of persuading the jury to rule in favor of Apple:
At that point in time, I thought it was going to ultimately lean the other way… We were at a stalemate, but some of the jurors were not sure of the patent prosecution process. 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 and when the day was over and I was at home, thinking about that patent claim by claim, limit by limit, I had what we would call an a-ha moment and I suddenly decided I could defend this if it was my patent…And with that, I took that story back to the jury and laid it out for them. They understood the points I was talking about and then we meticulously went patent by patent and claim by claim against the test that the judge had given us, because each patent had a different legal premise to judge on. We got those all sorted out and decided which ones were valid and which ones were not.
He “suddenly decided I could defend this if it was my patent” because he does own his own patent. Not only that, but it looks as though his patent is pretty broad. Depending on what companies know of or have licensed Hogan’s patent (especially Apple and Samsung), this finding could spell trouble for the case. It’s currently unclear whether Hogan’s patent has been used by any tech companies.