Judge to consider Samsung's questions about jury foreman

Samsung has alleged that the jury foreman was untruthful and biased in a patent trial pitting the company against Apple

A court in California said Thursday that it would consider Samsung Electronics' concern that the foreman of the jury deciding a patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung had concealed information.

A jury in California 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.

Samsung has, however, 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 the filing on Oct. 2.

Samsung 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, it said in the filing.

On Oct. 30, Samsung filed a motion to compel Apple to disclose the circumstances and timing of Apple's discovery of certain information regarding the jury foreman.

Judge Lucy H. Koh of the District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division, wrote in her order on Thursday that the court will consider the questions "of whether the jury foreperson concealed information during voir dire, whether any concealed information was material, and whether any concealment constituted misconduct."

"An assessment of such issues is intertwined with the question of whether and when Apple had a duty to disclose the circumstances and timing of its discovery of information about the foreperson," Judge Koh wrote.

The court will address Samsung's motion to compel at a Dec. 6 hearing. If the court grants the motion, it will likely order supplemental briefing before ruling on Samsung's motion for judgment as a matter of law, Koh said.

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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