Jury Bombshell Could Eliminate Apple's $1 Billion Victory
Days before the verdict was announced, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry speculated that the two firms were likely to form a cross-licensing deal.
"Whatever may be the jury verdict, the most probable outcome will be a protracted negotiated settlement on cross-licensing with all the parties involved, namely Apple, Samsung, and Google, with little or no money changing hands," said Chowdhry.
Apple and Samsung have yet to sign a cross-licensing deal. If Samsung has its way, the two corporations may head back to court instead. According to Computerworld, Lucy Koh -- the judge that presided over the patent trial -- will consider Samsung's claims of jury misconduct.
Samsung alleges that jury foreman Velvin Hogan was not truthful during the voir dire, a court procedure in which prospective jurors are questioned about their backgrounds and potential biases. Hogan neglected to reveal the fact that Seagate (NASDAQ: STX) -- his former employer -- sued him in 1993 for breach of contract. He also failed to mention that he filed for bankruptcy six months later.
At first glance, this might seem like an irrelevant bit of information. But in December 2011, Seagate acquired Samsung's HDD business in a $1.4 billion deal that consisted of cash and 45,239,490 Seagate shares. This made Samsung the single largest shareholder of Seagate.
Samsung may never know if Hogan purposely hid that information from the court. Only he can answer that question. But his admission -- temporary or otherwise -- could be enough to cause a mistrial.
If that happens, the $1.05 billion verdict will be vacated, forcing Apple and Samsung to start all over. While this trial may not last long as the first, investors should not expect a quick turnaround. Apple and Samsung are already scheduled to go to court in 2013 over an entirely different patent dispute.
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