If you thought the legal battle between Apple and Samsung was over when a jury awarded Apple a $1 billion win, think again. The wars are heating up yet again, and if recent news is any indication, they’re going to continue to simmer over the next several months.
There are two major stories I should mention. First, Apple added new products to its lawsuit against Samsung, which seems to bring us nearly back to square one. And second, Samsung is arguing that the jury foreman might not have disclosed all of his previous legal ties, including one with a firm that Samsung worked with in the past.
Last week, Apple added Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (a version of Google’s mobile operating system that’s now one generation old), and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet to its suit against Samsung. It’s an interesting move because it’s the first time Apple has brought Android as a whole into the legal battle, and, the jury has already ruled that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 didn’t infringe on Apple’s design patents.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Note 10.1, I should point out that the two look very similar, although the Note 10.1 allows you to input data with a stylus, which Samsung calls the S Pen. I don’t personally see how the Note 10.1 would infringe on a patent that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 didn’t, but Apple clearly has its reasons. The new trial isn’t expected to begin until 2014, when both Android 4.1 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 will be about as current as the Diplodocus (it’s a dinosaur – Google it), and mere memories in the public’s mind.
Now on to Samsung’s new issue with Apple. The South Korean tech giant said on Thursday that it doesn’t think Apple won the trial fairly. It has already called for a re-trial, but now the presiding Judge, Lucy Koh, said she will look into whether or not the jury foreman had any legal ties that he failed to mention before the trial began.
Samsung argues that the foreman, Velvin Hogan, was unfit for the job. Hogann was sued by his former employer, the hard drive company Seagate, after he left them firm. The outcome ultimately left him bankrupt. Samsung argues that it had, and still does have, a working relationship with Seagate and that Hogan should have divulged that information. It’s a fair argument: Perhaps Hogan is angry that his former employer left him bankrupt and decided to take it out on one of the firm’s partners – Samsung. But it’s also a stretch: Hogan did reveal he had legal issues before, he just didn’t say they were with Seagate.
Judge Koh will dig deeper into the issue at a December 6, hearing, according to a court order that was published on Nov. 9. “The court will consider the questions of whether the jury foreperson concealed information during voi dire, whether any concealed information was material, and whether any concealment constituted misconduct,” the order reads. The court will then examine if Apple had a duty to “disclose the circumstances and timing of its discovery of information about the foreperson.”
So, while that case is pretty much closed, a new investigation is set to resume. And I highly doubt this is the last time the two will do battle in a legal environment. Samsung’s tablet market share increased more than 300% during the last quarter, and its Galaxy S III smartphone outsold the iPhone 4S during the same time period.
Clearly, both sides are fighting for the top dog position.