SAN JOSE, Calif. – As foreman of the jury that awarded Apple just over $1 billion in its patent infringement suit against Samsung, Velvin R. Hogan returned time and again to his experience as an electrical engineer. Now at the center of a media blitz, Hogan, who holds two of his own patents, talked at length about the case he calls the highlight of his career, one idea sometimes flowing into the next.
The jury “got hung up the first day” debating the validity of one of Apple’s patents, “so I said let’s leave it for tonight,” he said Monday (Aug. 27) in an interview with EE Times.
In days of testimony, lawyers for both sides presented world-class experts who showed multiple pieces of what they claimed were prior art invalidating each other’s patents. “When I got home I was watching a movie on TV, but not really watching it because my mind was going 90 miles an hour thinking about this patent, claim by claim,” he recalled.
“My light bulb moment came that Wednesday night when I asked myself if I could defend [the Apple ‘381 software patent], and I realized I could, so in the morning I explained this to my fellow jurors,” the 67-year-old Hogan said.
After that, the group fairly quickly found all the Apple and Samsung patents in the case were valid. As instructed the jury then considered Samsung devices one by one, deciding that most of them willfully infringed Apple’s patents and trade dress, or look and feel, levying $1.05 billion in damages on Samsung.
Hogan’s “light-bulb moment” was a flashback to his experience defending his patent on an alternative to the MPEG 4 Part 10 video codec.
The patent “took seven years to be granted—the last three-and-a-half years debating with the patent examiner my claims, and ultimately I won. I learned in that exercise what’s needed to defend a patent against prior art,” he said.
Hogan spent much of his 40+ year career building test equipment and servo components for the emerging hard disk drive industry. He refused to join Samsung’s lawyers and some observers who scoffed at Apple’s claims on the industrial design of iPhones and the look and feel of their user interfaces.
“If you accept the premise of intellectual property--regardless of what it is—it needs to be protected,” he said.
“I confess a few years ago when Congress let the patent office authorize trade dress and design patents I was quite frankly not sure it was the right thing to do, but after being in this trial my position changed--IP needs to be protected if it is legitimate,” he said.
Good news is, there now seems to be ample evidence for a mistrial.
Whether you agree with the verdict or not, this juror completely subverted the justice process. The fact that he's so bursting with pride that he can't even see what he has done just doubles the epic fail.
The result of the lawsuit shows how out-of-touch the current patent system is. A system that is not too different from the one that enabled/encouraged the British East India Company to conquer America, India and other countries...
I like Apple's products a lot (bought iPhone 1, iPhone 3GS, iPad 1, new iPad and a MacBook) and admire Steve Jobs/Apple's focus. But this lawsuit is a sham.
Even if Samsung copied some of iPhone's features, the final result of awarding 15% of Samsung profits is just plain wrong. Here's a simple reason why - I bought a Samsung Galaxy S2 not because of the Zoom, Rotate or List scrolling features or its likeness to iPhone. I bought it for the simple reason that it was more flexible (for customizaiton), more open & I could easily move files around. Why does Samsung have to return the profit from my sale?
The jury decided on a very simple reasoning that Samsung infringed these 5 patents and these 5 patents were the only reason all of Samsung's customers bought their phones. That's too simplistic.
Based on so much prior art listed in the comments section of this article alone (including the awesome TED video), the patents should be declared invalid.
Apple has already more than enjoyed the fruits of their labor with the iPhones and iPads with unprecedented profits & stock price. This lawsuit shows both greediness and worry that they can't keep up with the innovation in the rest of the smartphone world.
To Apple's engineers - I'm sorry that after all your hard work, your lawyers had to prove your innovation based on a scrolling, zooming and pretty icons... Keep up the good work.
Jurors are free citizens and a public trial is just that - public. They can say anything they want. However, I do NOT recommend you do so. In two juries I was the foreman on the last thing I told the others was that they had the right to say anything they wanted to anyone about it. But I for one absolutely refused to be interviewed by attorneys for either side and I recommended that other jurors also refuse. My mother-in-law allowed herself to be interviewed by attorneys after a case and was promptly sued by those attorneys. Defending herself ran into 10's of thousands of dollars.
I totally agree with you on one point. The iphone changed the mobile world, forever. And once again with the ipad. No one can refute that. And I agree, the most compelling factor for this was the interface, including the two UI patents. And part of the story was the looks, but in my mind, an insignificant part. There have been better looking phones before and after iphone. Consider Nokia 9 series, LG prada, Samsung SGH, LG prada among many others. None have been as successful, and for a good reason: As far as looks are concerned, I would always go for an iphone over say, a galaxy S or S2. [The SIII is a different story]. The reason so many people bought the S/S2 was mostly because of cost, Android openness vs Apple closed system , hardware specs, and yeah! Samsung's brand image.
The UI patents were valid targets. I do feel however since they are quite obvious (yes, in hindsight) they probably should be licensed to promote fair competition,rather than fought over in courtrooms.
Apple is an innovative company. But they need to continue to innovate to keep ahead of competition, not use lawsuit to kill competition.
We seem to have forgotten that the cellphone is not a piece of plastic/metal/glass or a piece of software existing in the ethernet. Samsung OLEDs or tehcnology manufacturing involves 100s of innovations. The average user takes them for granted, but these are part of what makes the iphone or ipad tick. So, in one sense, Samsung shares the success of Apple, and contributes to the innovative process. One must not ignore that when calling them copycats.
P.S: The windows 8/RT release timing seems to be superb, in light of this lawsuit. Curious as to if and how that changes the landscape.