by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 26th 2014 8:01pm
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 4th 2013 3:28am
from the and-so-this-continues dept
The key issue: the jury instructions were explicit that the jury not award Apple based on Samsung's profits for any utility patent infringements. But, in looking through the awards, it became clear that this was exactly what the jury did. Note that all of this came about in response to Apple's attempt to increase the award above $1 billion -- and, as a result, the reward has now been massively reduced.
Apple’s motion for an increase in the jury’s damages award is DENIED. The Court declines to determine the amount of prejudgment interest or supplemental damages until after the appeals in this case are resolved.And yes, the judge clearly called out the jury:
Because the Court has identified an impermissible legal theory on which the jury based its award, and cannot reasonably calculate the amount of excess while effectuating the intent of the jury, the Court hereby ORDERS a new trial on damages for the following products: Galaxy Prevail, Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Galaxy SII AT&T, Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Exhibit 4G, Galaxy Tab, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, and Transform. This amounts to $450,514,650 being stricken from the jury’s award. The parties are encouraged to seek appellate review of this Order before any new trial.
... it is apparent that the jury failed to follow the Court’s instructions on the law, and awarded damages based on a legally impermissible theory. This award cannot stand.Either way, this is far, far, far from over. There needs to be a new trial just on damages and there are the various appeals. Stay tuned, because unless the two companies settle (and they've shown little inclination on that front), we've still got a few more years of this mess.
Tue, Nov 13th 2012 11:27am
from the pics-pics-pics dept
Not so for Milorad Trkulga, an elderly man from Melbourne, Australia, who has been awarded $200,000 from Google because the search engine's image results also conjured up pictures of Tony Mokbel, an apparent "Australian gangland figure."
The images were posted after Mr Trkulja was shot in the back by an unknown gunman while eating with his elderly mother at a St Albans restaurant in June 2004. When Mr Trkulja's name was typed into Google's image search, photos had appeared of him alongside gangland figure Tony Mokbel.From what I can gather at the following related link, Trkulja was indeed shot while at a restaurant as part of some kind of infamous gangland wars that occured in 2004, hence the bridging link to a gangster. When news publications wrote up the story, they included images of both Trkulja and Mokbel, which likely caused their pictures to show up together in a search of the former's name. Trukulja, for reasons that escape me, thought that this was defamation and took Google to court. Google argued that they weren't publishing any of the material, only indexing search results. This, apparently, did not impress the jury.
However, the jury found Google's defence of the images broke down because it did not take any steps to remove the images from its searches once Mr Trkulja's lawyers contacted the company. The jury found the search engine was not liable for the search results themselves, as Mr Trkulja had incorrectly filled out a form for reporting offensive material by not including the URL of the content to which he objected.And this is where I go from bemused to confused, so perhaps there's an expert in Australian law out there somewhere who can help out on this one. The jury decided that Google merely indexing results doesn't matter if Trkulja asked them to take the images off of search results, even though the jury acknowledges they aren't liable for those results and find that Trkulja didn't provide the actual URLs of the pictures he wanted removed. That would be like me walking up to a random person on the street, tapping them on the shoulder, telling them I didn't like something they said once but couldn't remember exactly what it was that offended me, demanded an apology, and then got a free down payment on a mansion when said random person didn't comply.
Beyond that...what the hell? So images of gangsters showed up in image results because you got shot in Australian gangland wars (seriously, I thought you guys all fought with machetes). How is any of this a problem? I imagine that if you have an atypical name, search results of all kinds of people are going to show up in Google. Hell, let's just test it out with my own name and see what happens. I'm sure the first image result of my name, Timothy Geigner, won't be all that bad.
Oh, hell no. This injustice will not stand. Mike, get our lawyers on the phone. It's mansion time.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 27th 2012 9:30am
from the rushing-to-get-things-done dept
As we said on Friday, that certainly raised significant questions about how carefully the jury actually reviewed the issues in question. While some said it could have just been a clerical error in answering all the questions, that appears not to be the case. Because after the judge instructed the jury to fix the mistakes, they didn't reassign those damages elsewhere, they just wiped them off the slate. Besides, even if you were to argue it was merely a mistake, that's no excuse. This "mistake" could have ended up costing millions of dollars. That's quite a "mistake."
Over at Groklaw, they're discussing this and other evidence of jury misconduct. The awarding of damages for things they found didn't infringe was already pretty bad, but some of the other details highlight how the jury clearly did not read the jury instructions (or bother to comprehend them).
A Reuters interview with the jury foreman demonstrates conclusively that the jury ignored the rules. Foreman Velvin Hogan told Reuters that they wanted to punish Samsung:
"We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist," Hogan said. "We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable."That sounds nice, except... patent awards are only supposed to be about making the patent holder whole, not about punishing the infringer. And, in fact, the jury instructions clearly stated this:
The amount of those damages must be adequate to compensate the patent holder for the infringement. A damages award should put the patent holder in approximately the financial position it would have been in had the infringement not occurred, but in no event may the damages award be less than a reasonable royalty. You should keep in mind that the damages you award are meant to compensate the patent holder and not to punish an infringer.And yet here's the jury foreman flat out admitting that they decided to use the award amounts to punish Samsung. Elsewhere, it becomes pretty clear that Hogan was hardly an impartial juror. He has his own patent, 7,352,953 on "recording and storing video information." That, by itself, does not automatically make one biased in favor of the system (I know plenty of people with patents who hate the patent system), but he admitted elsewhere that he ended up making decisions based on how he would feel if it was his patent at stake, rather than on what the law actually says -- and then said he needed to rule as if he were speaking out "for all" patent holders. In an an interview with Bloomberg, he made that bias clear:
“When I got in this case and I started looking at these patents I considered: ‘If this was my patent and I was accused, could I defend it?’” Hogan explained. On the night of Aug. 22, after closing arguments, “a light bulb went on in my head,” he said. “I thought, I need to do this for all of them.”He then told Bloomberg that "he explained his thinking to his fellow jurors" and that seemed to drive the discussion. An interview with another juror, over at News.com, confirmed that Hogan's views focused the jury, with one juror admitting that they just started ignoring prior art, because that question was too time consuming. Seriously.
"It didn't dawn on us [that we agreed that Samsung had infringed] on the first day," Ilagan said. "We were debating heavily, especially about the patents on bounce-back and pinch-to-zoom. Apple said they owned patents, but we were debating about the prior art [about similar technology that Samsung said existed before the iPhone debuted]. [Velvin] Hogan was jury foreman. He had experience. He owned patents himself...so he took us through his experience. After that it was easier. After we debated that first patent -- what was prior art --because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art."Yeah. Read that sucker again. The jury instructions are again clear that the jury needs to consider the prior art, but according to this juror, Manuel Ilagan, after foreman Hogan talked about his own experience with patents, they decided that prior art was "bogging us down" and they might as well "skip" it.
"In fact we skipped that one," Ilagan continued, "so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down."
In the long run, the jury verdict probably won't matter much, because this case would have been appealed no matter what. But these kinds of stories certainly give Samsung plenty of fodder to ask the judge to toss out the jury verdict already. It also raises questions, yet again, about why we allow juries on patent trials. This has been a big problem for a long time and the results here only serve to emphasize that fact.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Aug 9th 2012 2:25am
from the there-it-goes dept
After considering motions presented by both parties, as well as the jury verdict (which was announced by RIM on July 14, 2012), the Judge determined that RIM had not infringed on Mformation's patent. In granting RIM's motion, the Judge also vacated the $147.2 million jury award, which means that RIM is not required to make any payment to Mformation.Mformation can (and almost certainly will) appeal, though a successful appeal would just take things back to square one, meaning a new district court trial.
Stories like this are why there have been some efforts made to get juries out of patent trials...
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 22nd 2010 5:44am
from the free-speech-anyone? dept
"Because Facebook is such an interactive site there could be tens of thousands of people who have access to the name," barrister Craig Caldicott said.Frankly, almost nothing Caldicott says here makes sense to me, other than the fact that many people might have access to the name. However, I honestly don't see how the name would have impact on justice. A potential juror could know everything about the case -- three people stabbed in their home, etc. -- without knowing the guy's name. How would knowing or not knowing his name make any difference at all? Separately, it's not Facebook that put the information out there, but the users, people in the community who wanted to share that information. The information is effectively public information, and it's silly to then blame a company, because its users are spreading information that is already widely known.
"It may have a huge impact on justice because a potential juror may have access to that information and opinions that have been published.
"Facebook are in breach of the suppression order -- it's the company who put it out there."
Another oddity in the story is the news that the victims' family had to spend time asking Facebook to take down the name:
Mourning family members and memorial page administrators spent the afternoon trying to delete all references to the man, but his name was public knowledge well before his court appearance.I don't understand why they should be doing this at all. The name is out there -- and you'd almost think they'd like the name to be out there, rather than trying to hide it. I guess they're afraid that it will negatively impact the trial, but again, I'm at a loss for how the name makes any difference if people already know the actual details of the murder.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 7th 2010 9:15pm
from the write-this-100-times-on-the-blackboard dept
In the latest such story, a woman who joked on Facebook that she was "gonna be fun to tell the defendant they're GUILTY," wasn't just kicked off the jury, but ordered to write a five-page essay on "the constitutional right to a fair trial," and ordered to pay $250.
Perhaps most interesting of all, however, is how this all came to light. Apparently, the 17-year-old son of the lawyer for the defendant found the comment on Facebook, told his father, who brought it to the court's attention. Kids these days...
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Dec 15th 2009 6:07am
from the no-friending-allowed dept
The second case involved jurors using Wikipedia to look up some terms. This is hardly a new concept. Some judges these days are specifically warning jurors not to use the internet to look up anything related to a case, but for a generation of folks who consider internet research to be an adjunct part of the thinking process, it's not hard to recognize why many would ignore this, and not think they're doing anything wrong (and they might have a good argument). The real question is whether or not there are reasonable ways to change the way the jury system works to allow for what many people consider perfectly natural: doing additional research on their own. For those who are comfortable with the old system, this may seem like a horrific idea (and yes, we all understand the reasons why the current system wants to limit things to just what's said in the courtroom). However, at some point the system may need to recognize that an artificial constraint on learning about the details of the case may not actually be the best system.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jun 25th 2009 7:19am
from the wow,-that's-chutzpah dept
Talk about misrepresenting.
First of all, I don't know of many "pundits" who think that the digital economy should be a new wild west at all. I think that many of them are actually just focused on preserving individual rights against a constant landgrab by an industry whose history has shown it to not be above removing right after right after right from people. The RIAA and its supporters have taken content out of the public domain, making a government go back on a bargain it struck with content creators, much to the detriment of society, but very much to the benefit of a few record label execs and their lobbyists and lawyers. That's stealing from the public. It's taking a bargain and changing the terms. People don't want a wild west. They want the culture we were promised, and they want their individual freedoms.
Furthermore, calling the very specific nature of the Jammie Thomas trial a referendum on file sharing is ridiculous. Her case had a very specific set of circumstances unlike many others -- and even we (a "reliable critic" according to the RIAA) felt that she never should have gone to trial, as the evidence against her seemed strong. On top of that, this "sample" involved RIAA lawyers who had years to prepare the case against some rookie lawyers who were brought on the case just weeks earlier with little preparation at all, and who, frankly, did a terrible job, seemingly more focused on other issues than the key points in the case.
The Jammie Thomas trial was not a referendum on "the rule of law" or on "file sharing" or on the future of music business models. It was a referendum on Jammie Thomas, who presented herself as an incredibly questionable witness with a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that she broke the law and then tried to avoid taking responsibility for her actions. If the RIAA wants to believe that the people are behind its self-destructive campaign of suing people, more power to it, but putting its head in the sand hasn't worked for the last decade, and I doubt it'll start working now.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, May 18th 2009 4:51am
from the that-seems-bad dept