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Apple claims reversal of $120M jury verdict in Samsung patent case violated the U.S. Constitution


The endless patent battles between Apple and Samsung took an interesting turn this week when Apple claimed that the most recent court ruling violated the Seventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: the right to trial by jury.

Back in 2014, Apple was awarded $119.6M when Samsung was found to have violated three of the five patents in dispute. That award was overturned last month when an appeals court ruled that Samsung didn’t infringe one of the three patents, and declared the other two invalid.

The problem, explains Reuters, is that the appellate court didn’t just refer to the trial court record in reaching its conclusions, it also considered new evidence …

In a petition for rehearing en banc filed on Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit by Apple’s attorney William Lee of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, the company said the panel used materials that it researched itself and were not part of the trial court record to overturn the infringement verdict. This undermined Apple’s Seventh Amendment right to have a jury, and not an appellate court, decide the facts of the case, the company said.

In other words, Apple argues that while judges alone are entitled to overturn a case based purely on the law, they cannot consider new facts not introduced as evidence in the original case without putting those facts before a jury.

It looks like this case – like a separate patent battle with Samsung – could be heading towards the Supreme Court.

Photo: Reuters/Chip East

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  1. James Cude - 7 years ago

    Ha good luck getting justice there. Apple placed itself squarely on the government’s s-list and they will get their revenge.

  2. Doug Aalseth - 7 years ago

    Hmmm. Most juries that I’m aware of are either six or twelve people. The image is of a ten seat box. And why is one padded.

    anyway /OT

    • Grayson Mixon - 7 years ago

      They all have extra chairs for alternates. I was on a jury where they expected that some jurors would be thrown out during the trial (one lady watched the news the night after the judge said don’t watch the news), so they had several alternate jurors.

      • Doug Aalseth - 7 years ago

        Ah, so that could be a six person jury box, with space for four alternates. Or three alternates and one cushy chair for the bailiff/guard/etc. Makes sense

  3. 89p13 - 7 years ago

    “Ha good luck getting justice there. Apple placed itself squarely on the government’s s-list and they will get their revenge.”

    The FBI is the domestic intelligence and security service not the courts.

    Someone has to pay for all the legal work that was required over the last 6 weeks with the DOJ / FBI – might as well be Samsung!

    YMMV :)

    • James Cude - 7 years ago

      haha- you should go watch House of Cards on Netflix and then get back to me on that line of thinking…

  4. jimhillhouse - 7 years ago

    Having gone through the civil appellate route more than once, I’m frankly very surprised the en banc court did this. It’s been told to me many times by appellate counsel that under appeal only evidence admitted into evidence during trial is considered, that doing otherwise undermines the whole trial process. I was left with the impression that this was a bedrock principle. As a non-attorney, I hope we can get some feedback from someone in the legal arena.

    • jowens1259 - 7 years ago

      Maybe Samsung will ask for a mistrial and do the whole thing over again. Without the patents doesn’t seem like Apple will have a chance of winning.

  5. Paul Douglas - 7 years ago

    That sounds fairly open and shut. A clear breach of process like that is pretty surprising.

  6. Hamza Sheikh - 7 years ago

    Apple is in serious trouble with government, almost everything is turning against them.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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