SAN JOSE -- When a federal jury two years ago clobbered Samsung with nearly $1 billion in damages for violating Apple's iPhone and iPad patent rights, the jury foreman emphasized that the verdict was meant to send a strong message about copying in the tech industry.
But there was no such deliberate message in the verdict in the latest patent showdown between Apple and Samsung that drew to an end on Monday, according to jurors who spoke outside the federal courthouse after finishing their role. In fact, the jury foreman said the mixed verdict in the trial sequel was not intended to send any broader message in the smartphone wars.
"It wasn't a decision based on trying to send a message to one company or another," said Thomas Dunham, a retired IBM supervisor from San Martin who had the only tech and patent expertise on the jury. "It was based on the evidence that was presented to us."
The eight-member jury reached most of its verdict on Friday, ordering Samsung to pay about $120 million for copying some of Apple's iPhone technology, far less than the $2.2 billion the Cupertino company sought. The jury also rejected some of Apple's patent claims and found Apple violated a Samsung patent, giving both companies leeway to claim they had prevailed in the trial.
Jurors said they went back and forth on the damages claims, and simply did not agree with Apple's view that it was entitled to more than $2 billion for patent violations. Samsung had urged the jurors to award no more than $38 million if they sided with Apple.
"We didn't feel either one was fair and just compensation," Dunham said of Apple and Samsung's vastly different damages figures.
After a monthlong trial, the jury concluded nine Samsung smartphones violated two of four patents in iPhone technology the panel was asked to consider, including the popular slide-to-unlock feature. A federal judge found before trial that Samsung violated another patent, Apple's auto-word correct, and the jury only had to assess damages for that violation.
The jury tinkered with Samsung smartphones and iPhones, comparing features as they deliberated, jurors recalled. But the jury rejected many Apple claims, and determined that no iPad technology was infringed by Samsung's Galaxy tablet. And the jury found that Apple violated one of Samsung's patents, for camera folder technology, and ordered it to pay $158,000 in damages.
For the jury, the deliberations left many unanswered questions, particularly dealing with Google and its central role in the trial.
At the beginning of deliberations, the jury asked in a note for more evidence on what Apple CEO Steve Jobs may have said about suing his rivals, Samsung and Google, the Mountain View search giant whose Android operating system runs Samsung's devices. Samsung argued at trial that Google was the real target of Apple's patent claims because it considered its Android operating system copied technology.
Jurors said Monday they wanted more evidence on the topic, particularly after Apple revealed that Google had agreed to pay the cost of some of Samsung's legal defense if it lost. Dunham said that revelation "woke us all up."
But jurors were not permitted to see more evidence on Apple's view of Google, leaving unresolved questions about Apple's motivation for pressing its patent claims against Samsung. Without that evidence, jurors said, Google was not a factor in the outcome.
"If they really feel Google is the cause behind this, then don't beat around the bush," Dunham said.
Added juror Margarita Palmada, a retired teacher from Santa Clara: "It's something we'd like to know more about. To get more of a feel of why it had gone this way."
This jury was unaware of the 2012 verdict, when a different jury largely sided with Apple in finding Samsung copied iPhone and iPad technology involving different patents and an older line of products. That $1 billion verdict is now on appeal.
But the jury, much like the tech world, appeared puzzled the four-year legal conflict cannot be resolved. Dunham noted that such patent battles can be damaging to the market, and expressed hope Apple and Samsung can settle their differences.
"Ultimately, the consumer is the loser in all this," Dunham said. "I'd like to see them find a way to settle. I hope this (verdict) in some way helps shape that future."
Apple and Samsung are scheduled to return to court in July, with both expected to ask U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to set aside portions of the verdict. In addition, Apple is expected to try again to persuade the judge to bar Samsung from selling any of the smartphones found to have violated patents, a move that failed after the first trial.
Despite the lower damages figure, Apple said the verdict proves "that Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products."
Samsung, however, said Apple achieved "nothing" in the trial, and pledged to reduce the damages to "zero" on appeal.
"It's become Apple's Vietnam," Samsung lead attorney John Quinn told this newspaper Monday. "This whole "holy war" has been an embarrassment to Apple. They've accomplished nothing."
Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz