Apple-Samsung Jury May Have Leaned On Engineer, Patent Holder

Jurors who zipped through more than 600 questions in three days to arrive at their verdict in the intellectual-property battle between Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) had as their leader an engineer with a patent to his name.

Velvin Hogan, foreman of the nine-member panel, told the court during jury selection last month that he spent seven years working with lawyers to obtain his own patent, one covering “video compression software,” a hobby of his.

Hogan said he worked in the computer hard-drive industry for 35 years at companies including Memorex Corp., Colorado- based Storage Technology Corp. and Massachusetts-based Digital Equipment Corp.

“If there is one juror who seems more clearly knowledgeable than the others, the jury will often look to that person to help them work through the issues, and perhaps elect him foreman,” Mark Lemley, a Stanford Law School Professor, said yesterday in an interview.

The jury in federal court in San Jose, California, also included a mechanical engineer, an aspiring software engineer and a woman who worked for National Semiconductor Corp.

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Hogan was issued a patent covering a “method and apparatus for recording and storing video information,” according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“I could imagine him being very useful to the other jurors as long as he’s not trying to dominate the jury room,” said Mark McKenna, a University of Notre Dame Law School professor, in an interview before yesterday’s verdict. “It could be the case that because this guy has a lot of expertise that a lot of jurors defer a lot of specific questions to him.

This may have something to do with the speed at which the decisions were reached.