Is the Apple vs. Samsung verdict going to stand? It seems unlikely at this point. Samsung will definitely be appealing—and ever since the jurors have started shooting off their mouths about how they came to their decisions, it’s seeming more and more likely. The case has proved interesting enough that it actually drew Groklaw founder Pamela Jones out of blogging retirement to discuss it. Apart from noticing a pattern of unfairness in how the judge dealt with Apple vs. Samsung, PJ notes that jurors apparently chose not to bother reading the instructions they were issued on how to decide the case.
Perhaps as a result, there were a number of inconsistencies in their decision, such as finding certain devices didn’t infringe—but then awarding over $2 million to Apple for those devices for “inducing” the infringement that they didn’t find. The instructions to the jury were 109 pages long (PDF). And the jury only needed to deliberate for three days?
Here’s the thing, ladies and gentlemen of the Apple v. Samsung jury: It would take me more than three days to understand all the terms in the verdict! Much less come to a legally binding decision on all of these separate issues. Did you guys just flip a coin?
Then here we have a juror mentioning that they skipped over consideration of prior art because “it was bogging us down.” The jury foreman, a patent holder himself, wanted to send Samsung “not just a slap on the wrist”—even though the jury instructions specifically said that the purpose of the awards was not punishment, but to compensate the infringement victim for money it lost due to those violations. Samsung will, of course, be exploring every legal avenue to get the verdict thrown out, and comments like these will only give the company more ammunition.
Which could be a good thing if we want more competition in the smartphone and tablet markets. Wired’s article on what the result might mean for consumers suggests it could make things harder for Android manufacturers to design around Apple’s patents. It could also mean Samsung’s devices could be withdrawn from the market.
At any rate, it’s early days yet as far as this case goes—it could be months or years before we know the final outcome. Hopefully the final decision won’t be quite so one-way in Apple’s favor.