A jury awarded Apple over one billion and fifty million dollars in their lawsuit over patent infringements with Samsung.
There were some troubling facts about the case though. The jury awarded an extra 2.5 million on a devise they ruled did not infringe on Apple’s patents. Sloppy. They also took only three days to come up with the verdict. There were way too many devices to carefully analyze and decide on each claim to come back with a billion dollar verdict in three days.
Plus, the jury foreman stated the jury had already reached a decision without needing to read the instructions. Wait, what? How can you come up with a legally maintainable decision if you didn’t even read the instructions? Another juror was quoted as saying “After we debated that first patent — what was prior art –because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art. In fact we skipped that one, so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down.”
This sounds like a jury in a hurry to go home. They just wanted to go ahead and give it to them so they could get the heck out of there. And when you are talking about over a billion dollars, which is just not acceptable. If they skipped over reading the instructions, and skipped over things “bogging us down” then what else did they skip over? Probably quite a bit.
Here’s another bothersome quote: “we wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist. We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable.”
So where did they come up with the figure? It sounds like they just pulled it out of thin air. They were supposed to be awarding compensatory damages, which are the money Apple is actually able to prove they’ve lost. They were not supposed to be awarding punitive damages. Here is no “slap on the wrist” component here. But that happens when you don’t read the instructions.