December 18, 2012, 2:02 AM — A court in California has denied Samsung Electronics a retrial in a patent dispute with Apple, and also refused Apple a ban on the sale of some Samsung products.
A jury decided in August that the South Korean company must pay Apple US$1.05 billion for infringing several of its patents in Samsung smartphones and tablets.
But Samsung asked for a new trial of the case, alleging that the foreman of the jury, Velvin Hogan, was untruthful and biased in the voir dire, a court procedure of questioning prospective jurors for potential bias.
Hogan did not mention that he had been sued by his former employer, Seagate, for breach of contract after he failed to repay a promissory note in 1993 and filed for bankruptcy six months later, according to a filing by Samsung. The company said it has a "substantial strategic relationship with Seagate," and is the single largest direct shareholder of the hard drive manufacturer after selling it a business division last year.
Although Hogan had mentioned in the voir dire that he was employed by Seagate, counsel for Samsung did not ask him about his relationship with Seagate, and whether that relationship might influence his view in any way, Judge Lucy H. Koh of the District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division, wrote in her order on Monday.
"If Samsung believes that its relationship with Seagate is close enough that feelings toward Seagate could bias a juror one way or the other toward Samsung, counsel should have pursued the subject during voir dire," she wrote.
Though Samsung learned of the bankruptcy through its own research on July 30, the day of voir dire, Samsung did not request the bankruptcy file, which mentions Hogan's litigation with Seagate, until Sept. 4, five days after the verdict in Apple's favor, Judge Koh wrote. Samsung received the bankruptcy file on Sept. 10, and discovered the lawsuit, and also learned two days later that the lawyer who filed the Seagate lawsuit against Hogan is the husband of a partner in the law firm of Quinn Emanuel, Samsung's counsel. The partner was not a part of the trial team, nor has she worked on any part of the litigation between Apple and Samsung, the Judge wrote.
Samsung said it had no reason to investigate until after the verdict, when Hogan made "public statements after the verdicts that so clearly favored Apple that the press speculated about their possible financial ties."