Just when you thought this whole Samsung vs. Apple case couldn't get any weirder, we're now hearing that Vel Hogan, the jury foreman on the case who helped guide the jurors on patent law and owns some patents himself, was once sued into bankruptcy by Seagate. Samsung, as it turns out, just happens to be the largest single investor in Seagate, owning 9.6 percent of the hard drive company's stock. While it doesn't guarantee that a juror's judgment could be clouded, it is the kind of information one would expect to be volunteered to a courtroom. Mr. Hogan, however, did not disclose this information.
The reading of Friday's verdict was no doubt an intense moment for just about everyone interested in the mobile tech world. Apple swept up decisions for $1.049 Billion in damages, Samsung was denied its claims against Apple across the board by the nine-person California jury, and both sides immediately released impassioned responses to the decision, calling on the feelings of spectators and case-long mantras that kept onlookers from both sides in rapt attention.
Google, which has stayed mum throughout most of the Apple v Samsung proceedings, spoke up today. The Mountain View giant released a statement significantly more even-handed than that of either Samsung or Apple, though from Google's perspective, the decision is (rightly) perceived as an entirely non-cataclysmic event.
There's no question – today's verdict dealt Samsung a heavy blow. The massive $1.04 billion sum Samsung will now be responsible for paying Apple in damages aside, the trial will undoubtedly have an effect on the rest of the industry.
Being all too aware of this fact, Samsung has already issued an official response to the verdict, stating that the verdict is not a win for Apple, but a loss for consumers and a blow to innovation.
Here's the statement:
If you're anything like us, you've been closely eyeing the Apple v. Samsung verdict as it was just read (a bit sooner than expected). While Apple won just under half its requested sum in damages, and swept up a handful of patent infringement victories, Samsung had some patent-related bones to pick with Cupertino.
In a broad motion, the jury found Apple not to be infringing on any of Samsung's purported patents, awarding Sammy a grand total of $0.00 in damages to be paid by Apple. Samsung's patent claims were primarily against the iPhone, iPhone 3G/s, and the iPod Touch, including the '711, '893, '406, and '516 patents.
We're hearing via The Verge that Judge William Alsup has just handed down his decision on the copyrightability of Oracle's 37 Java API's, asserted by Oracle as having been infringed by Google in the Android operating system. This is probably the most important issue of the entire case. While a jury decided that Google did infringe Oracle's APIs as asserted by Oracle, that decision hinged on the assumption that the APIs were in fact copyrightable in the way Oracle had insisted they were.
Alsup determined that Oracle's API's are not, in fact, copyrightable in their "sequence, structure, and organization," and the related infringement claims against Google have been dismissed.
Google and Oracle have been going at it for weeks now over both patent and copyright infringement claims made by the latter company. At least one issue is settled, though, as the jury on the case has decided that Google did not infringe any of Oracle's patents with Android. This is only a small part of Oracle's assault on Google. The larger issue is on the matter of copyright infringement, but at least on the patent issue, Google seems to be in the clear.
It's been a long road to get here, as the jury has been debating the matter for at least a week.
You've probably already read headlines in the last hour or two proclaiming that Google has "lost" its copyright case against Oracle, and in the strictest sense of the word, it has. Google lost on a number of counts, including the most important one, question one in the jury instructions. It also lost on a count involving nine lines of code that have long-since been removed from Android.
The first question, though, asked the jurors whether Google's use of 37 Java API packages, taken as a group, constituted an infringement of Oracle's copyrighted works. The jury, responding unanimously, answered that question with a "yes." But question 1 contained a part two, and therefore a dependent unanimity requirement (answers on all parts of the question must be unanimous):
If you know anything about copyrights (and if you're on the internet a lot, you probably do know more than most people), you know that part two of question one asks the jurors something very important: was Google's use of Oracle's Java APIs fair?