By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics said Thursday that it is looking closely into whether patents owned by Velvin Hogan, the foreman of a U.S. jury that recently delivered a verdict against the company, may have been used by Apple.
Samsung’s reaction came after U.S. media reported that Hogan holds a patent in his name that could be used in Apple’s iProducts. ``Samsung Electronics is monitoring the situation, closely,’’ said a company spokesman, Thursday, without elaborating further.
Hogan, 67, the foreman of the nine member jury, has had a 35-year career in hard-drive technology. He has a U.S. patent to his name ― one that is currently causing a lot of controversy as it covers a ``method and apparatus for recording and storing video information.’’
A story posted on patent blog AndroidPIT claims that Hogan may’ve ruined the whole trial for Apple.
“I don’t know how he got on the jury as a patent holder for a patent that Apple may be using.”
AndroidPIT is a famous blog that covers tech and mobile industries, and was the first to raise the claim that one of the Hogan-owned patents was used by the Cupertino-based Apple.
Steven Blum, author of the story, insisted that the apparatus also has the ability to offload video files to an internal removal storage device. Filed in 2002, the patent came 3 years before the first iPod to integrate video, which means it could be used in an Apple device, the author said.
``It could also have been used in a Samsung device as well. In any case, it seems like a potential conflict-of-interest. We don’t know for sure which devices Hogan’s patent was used in, or what his biases may have been towards Apple or Samsung. But as someone who patented a technology which must have been used in products by certain manufacturers, it seems doubtful that he wouldn't have opinions of his own about who in the tech field were deserved of greater sympathy,’’ Blum wrote.
During interviews with foreign news outlets, Hogan said jurors were able to complete their deliberations in less than three days ― much faster than legal experts had predicted ― because a few had engineering and legal experience, which helped with the complex issues in play.
``Furthermore, the fact that a patent-owner was treated as a patent-expert is patently absurd. We need expert judges to handle these court cases, not someone like Hogan who could have swayed the opinion of the eight other jury members simply because of the fact that he owned a patent. Once that was established, Hogan could have convinced the jury of anything,’’ according to the author.
Samsung lawyers are currently talking with U.S. federal Judge Lucy Koh because Samsung believes the verdict should be reviewed based on legal judgments. The nine jurors accepted all Apple claims that Samsung infringed its designs. But they didn’t accept even a single Samsung claim that Apple infringed on Samsung-owned wireless patents.
The judge will make her final decision sometime in the third week of September. It’s rare that a judge reverses a verdict reached by jurors.