Following up on his television interview last week regarding the Apple v Samsung case, earlier today the jury foreman agreed to field live questions on the Gizmodo web site. In the course of the interview, he admitted the jury never considered the validity of the patents claiming Judge Koh instructed the jury not to consider the validity and instead to assume their validity.
A quick read of the jury instructions shows just how mistaken the foreman was. On line 7, page 35, Judge Koh’s instructions state, “the decisions regarding infringement and invalidity are yours to make.” Further, entire sections of the instructions deal with determining the validity of patents. Instruction No 33 involves utility patents and obviousness, while instructions 43, 48 and 52 all deal with the validity of design patents. Lengthy guidance is provided regarding the standards the jury should apply in deciding whether the patents are valid, since an invalid patent would provide a defense for either party against the allegations of infringement.
As the Groklaw site suggests, the foreman’s reasoning creates a never-ending circle of passing the buck on deciding whether patents are valid. The USPTO issues patents on the assumption their validity will be reviewed by the courts while courts would operate on the assumption the USPTO issued a valid patent. No one ever decides whether the patents are actually valid though, as appears to have happened in this case.
What Samsung can do with these statements now is unclear, but there is probably a good chance you may be seeing them again in future filings as part of Samsung’s appeal.