"My next phone is going to be a landline rotary dial," joked Thomas Dunham, the jury foreman in the Apple-Samsung patent trial that concluded here Monday. On Friday, Judge Lucy Koh ordered the jury to recalculate the damage award following objections from Apple attorneys to the jury's verdict. The jury deliberated for two hours in the morning and returned with essentially the same $120 million total award. The error, Dunham said, was in allocation of dollars to the various smartphone devices in question.
Once excused, the jury of four women and four men were allowed to speak about the trial to attorneys and the media. Three jurors left the courthouse without comment, but the remaining for the most part deferred to the business-like Dunham who appeared well prepared to navigate away from detail and potential controversy.
Dunham suggested he was elected the presiding juror because of his previous experience at IBM where he was an executive responsible for compilers and transaction processing systems. As he rose through the ranks at IBM, Dunham said, he directly or indirectly managed developers whose job was to create patents. "I have a lot of respect for patents. I have a lot of respect for these companies and the willingness and desires to protect those patents."
A lot of this is common sense, Dunham suggested. There were differences of opinion, but he claimed the jury was a great team where everybody had a good perspective. Considering the complexity of the case, Dunham thought it was impressive how well the group worked. "We were exposed to some of the brightest minds in their fields who did a pretty good job. They did their demonstratives in a way that was understandable."
Still, Dunham was unwilling to disclose to reporters any specifics about what testimony or evidence in the month-long trial might have been most compelling or crucial for the results. He offered the disclosure that Google provided Samsung indemnification was "certainly exciting. I think it woke us all up." But did the Google involvement influence the jury's decision? "No, not at all," said Dunham. "We looked at the evidence presented by both sides and we decided based on the evidence. At the end of the day it wound up being what it was. The damages were based on the fact that both sides presented their view of what a reasonable compensation would be, and we didn't really feel that either one was a fair and just compensation for the royalties that were at issue."
When asked what it means that the award amount is nowhere close to what Apple was seeking, Dunham responded: "It tells us the jury did a really good job of figuring what they felt was a fair compensation." According to Dunham, the jury was not sending Apple or Samsung a particular message, but he declined to reveal the basis for their calculation of damages.
Mr. Dunham, whose hobby for 30 years has been restoring classic British automobiles, said he would be happy to go back and get his fingernails greasy, but he also disclosed his plans to establish a consulting business to advise companies on the dynamics of juries.
Samsung's attorney, John Quinn, issued a statement yesterday promising to appeal the jury's decision:
Of course we’re pleased that the jury awarded Apple 6% of what they were asking for. But even that can't stand, because Apple kept out all the real world evidence and didn't produce anything to substitute for it, so you have a verdict that's unsupported by evidence -- and that's just one of its problems. In post-trial motions and on appeal, we will ask the judge and the federal circuit to cut the 6% verdict to 0, which is where it should end. We can keep fighting, or Apple can decide to go back to competing with Samsung in the marketplace.
— Magnus Thordarson is an IT consultant and freelance writer based in San Jose, Calif. With a background in industry and academia, he is a veteran of Kaiser Permanente IT and writes about all aspects of information technology and management of information systems. Thordarson sat in on the Apple-Samsung proceedings for EE Times.