The legal dispute between Samsung and Apple is raising some interesting new questions about how impartial and knowlegeable jurors can be in cases like this.
ComputerWorld reported Tuesday that Samsung has complained to the courts that it has not received equal treatment under the law and is asking for a new trial. The company claims that it has not been given enough time to present its case, that it wasn’t able to demonstrate how its products differed Apple, and even about the language Apple’s witnesses used.
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But in its submission it also criticized jurors for not doing their jobs properly. In fact, the Computerworld article tells us we might expect to see a separate filing over the issue of jury misconduct.
With increasingly sophisticated technology and a massive user base for mobile devices, I can’t help but think it will become harder to get a fair trial by jury in the future. Unless they have strong technology backgrounds, many jurors will have to rely on subject matter experts to educate them. This is the same with all sorts of legal disputes, but there’s something unique about mobile technology, I think, in that it’s a field in which the small touches make a big difference and the pace of change is so fast.
Everybody is copying one another to an extent, so the line between building on a good idea and patent infringement is getting finer. Juries are becoming less autonomous and more dependent on someone else to guide them to the right decision. It seems to me that this is only going to exacerbate and prolong these disputes as both parties will simply argue that the jury “doesn’t get it.”